Megan Rapinoe USWNT 2023 Women's World CupGetty

'She's poisoned the entire team' - Megan Rapinoe accused of leading USWNT in 'shameful' snub of national anthem at 2023 World Cup

  • USWNT struck with national anthem controversy
  • Kelly feels Rapinoe is the main culprit
  • Feels the player has "poisoned" the entire team

WHAT HAPPENED? The majority of the starting XI for the USWNT refused to sing the national anthem in the group stages of the World Cup, including in their last fixture against Portugal where they were held to a 0-0 draw. Although Rapinoe did not start that contest, American journalist and TV personality Megyn Kelly believes that the 38-year-old is the mastermind behind the move to ignore the national anthem, which has thrown the USWNT into the eye of a controversy.

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WHAT THEY SAID: "Megan Rapinoe, she's the leader of all this... She's not a starter. So that's why she's not on camera when they're doing the national anthem, but she's behind a lot of this," Kelly said while hosting the Megyn Kelly Show. She went on to insist that she won't be supporting the USWNT in the knockout stages after the "shameful" actions of Rapinoe and a number of her team-mates.

"She's (Rapinoe) poisoned the entire team against the country for which they play," Kelly added. "I don't know about you, but I'm not rooting for them. I'm not with them. I hope they lose…It's shameful. These girls are shameful. They ought to be ashamed of themselves."

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Rapinoe is known to be an activist who makes the most of her reach to voice social issues and has not been afraid to mix politics and sports.  She has previously kneeled during the anthem as a show of support for Colin Kaepernick's protest and mentioned that she would never feel the same way about the national anthem again.

Alex Morgan, Julie Ertz and Lindsey Horan were the only three players who were singing the 'Star Spangled Banner' before the Portugal game and Kelly has labelled the rest of the squad as "morons".

"They won't put their hands on their hearts," she continued. "They don't feel prideful when they're out there even though they're representing the United States of America. Yes, we've got some flaws. Yes, there have been some warts, but we’re so much more good than we are bad. I mean, they look like they don't even want to be there. It's like some sort of inconvenience to be representing the USA. These morons on the women's soccer team continue to embarrass us on the national stage."


Rapinoe USWNT 2023Getty

Savannah DeMelo Julie Ertz Naomi Girma USWNT 2023Getty

Crystal Dunn USWNT 2023Getty Images

WHAT NEXT? The national anthem controversy is unlikely to wither away anytime soon. However, it remains to be seen if things change when the USWNT face Sweden in the round of 16 of the World Cup on Sunday.