United States Women's National Team star Megan Rapinoe described herself as "deeply American" following her feud with United States president Donald Trump but called for her country to have an honest conversation about how to improve peoples' lives.
The Reign FC captain drew criticism from Trump when she said she would not visit the White House if the USWNT win the Women's World Cup, having previously caused a stir with the president by not singing the national anthem.
Trump said in a tweet: "Megan should never disrespect our country, the White House, or our flag, especially since so much has been done for her and the team."
When asked how she feels to be an American, 33-year-old forward Rapinoe - who has scored five goals in four appearances at the World Cup to help the defending champions reach the final - gave a poignant response.
"I think that I'm particularly and uniquely and very deeply American," she told reporters.
"If we want to talk about the ideals that we stand for, the song and the anthem, and what we were founded on, I think I'm extremely American.
"I think for the detractors, I would have them look hard into what I'm actually saying, the actions that I'm doing - maybe you don't agree with every single way that I do it and that can be discussed.
"I know that I'm not perfect. But I think that I stand for honesty and for truth and for wanting to have the conversation; looking at the country honestly and saying yes, we are a great country, and there are many things that are so amazing and I feel very fortunate to be in this country.
"I would never be able to do this in a lot of other places. But also: that doesn't mean that we can't get better. It doesn't mean that we shouldn't always strive to be better."
“I think that I’m particularly and uniquely and very deeply American.”— Alicia Rose DelGallo (@OSAliciaD) July 3, 2019
I asked Megan Rapinoe what she thinks about some people calling her anti-American. Here’s her response:
✍🏼📽 https://t.co/OEyKOWBK55#FIFAWWC #USA #USWNT pic.twitter.com/PWVDR55EXH
Amid the social media furore surrounding her comments, she received the support of her girlfriend, WNBA star Sue Bird, who fired back at Trump via a lengthy letter in The Players' Tribune entitled: 'So the President F***ing Hates My Girlfriend.'
Expanding on her views on America's plight, California-born Rapinoe added: "I think that this country was founded on a lot of good ideals, but it was also founded on slavery.
"And I think we just need to be really honest about that and be really open in talking about that, so we can reconcile that and hopefully move forward and make this country better for everyone."
Hi!! @S10Bird here. This is my WC Semis preview. Title was supposed to be “So the President F*cking Hates My Girlfriend (& 10 Other Things I Want You to Know Before the World Cup Semifinals)” but we ran out of space. My bad. Thanks for reading. GO @USWNT.https://t.co/A2dJrBIzRh— The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) July 2, 2019