US Women's soccer team Captain Megan Rapinoe responded to a provocative statement by former President Donald Trump on Thursday. He called her out for being "woke."
"It’s a real sad dig into an old bag. I’m just like, 'You’re rooting for people to do bad?' Yikes!" Said Rapinoe while being interviewed on local outlet NBC 4i.
When asked whether she considered herself to be a "woke" person, "I think it’s important for everybody to do whatever they can to make the world a better place. We obviously have huge platforms. We get to be at the Olympics."
The controversy comes after another American athlete, shot putter Raven Saunders, who placed second and earned herself a silver medal, made an "X" gesture with her crossed arms above her head on the Olympic podium on August 2.
The motion appeared to have violated the International Olympics Committee rules on demonstrations that allow Olympic athletes to "express themselves" before events but not on the podiums.
American Olympian Gwen Berry also made headlines for turning her back to the US national anthem during a medal ceremony in the US Olympic Trials. She said to expect a similar protest if she medaled in Tokyo. She was unsuccessful in her endeavour.
In contrast, American Olympian Tamyra Mensah-Stock draped herself in the American flag, and who could not contain her enthusiasm during an interview following her gold medal win.
"It's by the grace of god I'm able to even move my feet! I just leave it in his hands, and I pray that all the practice, the hell that my freaking coaches put me through pays off, and ever single time it does, and I get better and better."
The reporter then asked Mensah-Stock about her flag. "That American flag around your shoulders looks pretty good," he said. "How does that feel to represent your country like this?"
The statement scrutinized by Rapinoe was one Trump made recently at a rally. He said: "If our soccer team, headed by a radical group of Leftist Maniacs, weren’t woke, they would have won the Gold Medal instead of the Bronze."
"Woke means you lose, everything that is woke goes bad, and our soccer team certainly has. They should replace the wokesters with patriots and start winning again." He added: "The woman with the purple hair [Rapinoe] played terribly and spends too much time thinking about Radical Left politics and not doing her job!"
The US Women's soccer team famously spurned an invitation to the White House after having won the FIFA Women's World Cup. Many members publicly criticized the Trump administration at the time.
The team also faced widespread controversy and criticism for turning their backs on a live performance of the US National Anthem.