USWNT star Megan Rapinoe has hit out at superstar male footballers Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for their lack of interest in the battle against racism. The 35-year-old, who won the Ballon d'Or Féminin in 2019, has been an advocate for numerous social issues and has raised awareness with regards to LGBT, equal pay and racism. Her image has gained relevance in recent years, especially after the waves of protests that arose in the United States as a result of the death of George Floyd.
In an interview with RMC Sport, Megan Rapinoe has argued that everybody is responsible for making change happen and Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi can elevate the fight by pledging their support. The OL Reign captain said, "It is not just black players who have to talk about racism, not only gay players who have to talk about homophobia, not only women who have to talk about pay inequality. We are all responsible, we must use our own voice to stop discrimination, to stop those we face". The 2019 Women's Ballon d'Or winner singled out the likes of Messi, Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann to do more with their respective popularity and platforms.
Megan Rapinoe: "When you see the commitment of certain athletes against racism like Serena Williams or LeBron James, it's important that people like Rashford, Messi, Griezmann, Ronaldo get involved too as people will listen to them. They're global role models."— Barca Hubdates (@BarcaHubdates) April 13, 2021
Rapinoe hailed Marcus Rashford's efforts to combat child poverty in the UK and hopes that other athletes can take his lead and that of Serena Williams and LeBron James to make a change. The 35-year-old said, "It is important that people listen to Rashford, [Lionel] Messi, or [Cristiano] Ronaldo, [Antoine] Griezmann... It is important to understand that always they will be seen as global models. As people listen, use this platform for good. You saw what Rashford did in his country, it had an incredible impact, especially during the pandemic. That doesn't mean that you have to talk about all the problems all the time. Find something that you are passionate about, use your power and influence because you can really make a big impact as a great soccer player".
This is not the first time that Rapinoe has targetted the likes of Messi and Ronaldo to support one of her causes. In 2019, the USWNT superstar called out a number of influential male footballers for their lack of action in the fight for equality. She had then said that Messi, Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are superstars on a global scale but aren't vocal about the issues in professional football. While Messi over the years has maintained silence over issues outside the football field, both Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic have spoken about social injustice in the past.