Conservative firebrand Megyn Kelly accused women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe of “setting a terrible example” after refusing to sing the national anthem during her final performance.
After a 2-0 win against South Africa on September 24, Megan Rapinoe quit the U.S. women’s national soccer team.
Two days later, Kelly slammed the football star on an episode of her eponymous podcast, The Megyn Kelly Show.
She considered the athlete’s actions as “her final middle finger to the United States.”
“Frowning with her hands behind her back as the little girls in front of her put their hands on their hearts,” Kelly said.
Journalist Megyn Kelly criticized soccer player Megan Rapinoe in a September 26 episode of her self-titled podcast
She referred to a video clip that showed Rapinoe refusing to sing the national anthem
Kelly thought she was “a bad role model” in front of so many young fans
She claimed the country made Rapinoe rich, “gave her a scholarship” and “reportedly gave her $7 million a year in endorsements and compensation” for playing football.
‘She doesn’t say a word. She doesn’t touch her heart. She looks angry the whole time she’s outside,” Kelly said.
‘She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the country, from President Biden.
‘Her relationship with Sue Bird, a lesbian relationship, is celebrated by virtually every magazine and media corner and yet she cannot even find the gesture to lay her hand on her heart.”
She accused the athlete of setting a bad example for young girls, including those who attended the competition.
“All I can say is, thank God those girls looked forward and didn’t look back at Megan Rapinoe,” Kelly said, adding that Rapinoe “wasn’t a role model.”
She ended emphatically, “And I hope she rides off into the sunset to be alone with Sue Bird.” I hope that in the future I never have to listen to her commentary on a football match or anything else because she doesn’t deserve it.’
Rapinoe’s refusal to sing the national anthem follows years of disruptive advocacy. Throughout her career, she remained a fierce advocate for equal pay and human rights.
But her outspoken nature has opened her up to criticism from media personalities like Kelly, who see her behavior as arrogant and unpatriotic.
The conservative host found Rapinoe’s behavior particularly offensive because ‘the country made her rich’
The athlete has been criticized in the past as an outspoken advocate for gay rights and a supporter of Black Lives Matter
In response to people calling her unpatriotic, the soccer star said: ‘I think I’m extremely American’
In 2012, Rapinoe came out as a lesbian, drawing criticism from anti-LGBT critics.
She was an early supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and was criticized for kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.
Years later, she drew ire after an old video resurfaced of her signing a ball at the 2019 ESPY Awards without acknowledging the young fan in front of her.
The athlete hit back at critics during the 2019 Women’s World Cup, describing herself as “special and unique and very deeply American.”
She told the media, “If we want to talk about the ideals that we stand for, the song and the anthem, and what we’re based on, I guess I’m being extremely American.”
The football star admitted she was ‘not perfect’ but suggested the country wasn’t either.
‘Yes, we are a great country, and there are many things that are so great and I feel very lucky to be in this country. In many other places I would never be able to do this,” she said.
‘But also: that doesn’t mean we can’t get better. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t always strive to be better.’
Kelly faced her own share of controversy after appearing to defend blackface on a 2018 episode of Today
After leaving NBC, she started her own media production company and podcast called The Megyn Kelly Show, which has generated hundreds of millions of views on YouTube.
Kelly himself is no stranger to controversy. The journalist, formerly of Fox News, was one of more than twenty women who accused Roger Ailes of sexual harassment and pushed him to resign.
She then joined NBC as host of Megyn Kelly Today, but her tenure was cut short when her defense of Blackface Halloween costumes landed her in hot water.
During the fateful October 2018 episode, Kelly faced pushback from her own panelists.
“If you think it’s offensive, it probably is,” says author and television host Melissa Rivers. “Whatever happened to just manners and polite society?”
NBC announced that the show had been canceled just six days later.
Kelly has since founded a production company called Devil May Care Media, with her self-titled podcast.
The show has been viewed 447 million times on YouTube and has earned her almost 1.5 million subscribers.