ESPN has outspoken Trump critic and soccer star Megan Rapinoe, as the host of its 2020 ESPYs award. This, despite the network’s recent efforts to limit the influence of politics in its sports coverage.
ESPN announced that the virulently anti-Trump U.S. Women’s soccer star would be one of a trio of hosts for this year’s awards show. Rapinoe will join Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and WNBA champ Sue Bird — who cohabitates with Rapinoe — as hosts for the June 21 broadcast.
“We liked the idea of having athletes from diverse sports that represent something for every fan,” ESPY producer Jeff Smith told the Associated Press. “We’re finding ways to make this feel really connected to the audience. They’re so ready to reach out to this community.”
“The stories we see at The ESPYS each year serve as a reminder of the hope that sports can inspire,” Rapinoe said in a press release. “I’m looking forward to hosting the show alongside Sue and Russell and bringing that much-needed hope to audiences this year.”
The choice of Rapinoe as host seems to run contrary to ESPN’s recent decision to excise politics from its sports coverage. The 2019 Women’s World Cup-winning U.S. Women’s National Team co-captain has continuously used her place of prominence to attack Republicans and President Donald Trump, and rant about politics.
Rapinoe has a long string of political pronouncements and activism behind her, not the least of which was her attack on the United States itself when she became one of the early adopters of the act of refusing to stand in honor of the American national anthem.
In 2019, Rapinoe commented on her then four-year policy of disparaging the anthem and the country, saying that she would “probably never sing the anthem again.”
Also, to explain her refusal to stand for the national anthem, Rapinoe told CNN that America was never great for everyone, so she sees no reason to celebrate the country that has made her a wealthy star.
Her distaste for the anthem, though, pales in comparison to her hate for Donald Trump, the GOP, and Republican voters.
The soccer player also insisted that athletes should use their positions of public acclaim to push left-wing political causes.
For instance, while celebrating her team’s Women’s World Cup win last year, Rapinoe told athletes it is their responsibility to “change the world” by becoming political activists. Later, she urged male soccer players to stop merely playing their sport but also become political extremists.
Rapinoe even used her acceptance speech at the Sports Illustrated awards show last year to push her political agenda and even scold SI for a lack of diversity.
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