Athlete, World Cup winner, and social activist Megan Rapinoe credited Colin Kaepernick for inspiring her activism at the 2019 Glamour Women of the Year Awards. The U.S. women’s soccer captain, who has long championed social justice and inclusivity, accepted an award for Woman of the Year at Glamour’s annual ceremony in New York on Nov. 11. In her speech, Rapinoe called attention to Kaepernick, a fellow athlete who spearheaded the Take A Knee movement in 2016 that takes a stand against police brutality and racial injustice.
On stage, Rapinoe highlighted a system that allowed her activism to be rewarded while individuals like Kaepernick were punished. She said,
While I’m enjoying all of this unprecedented — and, frankly, a little bit uncomfortable — attention and personal success… Colin Kaepernick is still effectively banned from the NFL for kneeling during the national anthem in protest of known and systematic police brutality against people of color, known and systematic racial injustice, and known and systematic white supremacy.
She continued, “I see no clearer example of that system being alive and well than me standing before you right now. It would be a slap in the face to Colin, and to so many other faces, not to acknowledge, and for me personally, to work relentlessly to dismantle that system that benefits some over the detriment of others, and frankly is quite literally tearing us apart in this country.”
Rapinoe, who has described herself as a “walking protest,” has emerged as a leader in the fight for pay equity, racial justice, and gender equity. In 2016, she became one of the first white athletes to take a knee in solidarity with Kaepernick’s movement. And amid their win at the Women’s World Cup in July, Rapinoe and members of the U.S. women’s soccer team filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against U.S. Soccer to demand equal pay similar to their male counterparts. As an openly-gay woman, Rapinoe has also championed LBGTQ inclusion and became the first openly-gay woman to pose in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue in May.
At Glamour's ceremony, Rapinoe emboldened individuals to join her in doing more. She said, in part, during her speech, “While we all have injustices we are facing — for me personally, a very public fight with our [U.S. Soccer] Federation [over equal pay] — I still know in my heart of hearts and my bones that I can do more. And that we can do more. And I know that because we just have to. It’s imperative that we do more.”