Megan Rapinoe has made countless headlines during the Women’s World Cup—for scoring big for the U.S. team, but also for taking a stand against President Donald Trump.
Now sports drink BodyArmor has released a new ad starring Rapinoe that will surely get under the skin of the president and his supporters.
The spot, shot in black-and-white, shows Rapinoe staring straight ahead, as this text flies by: "Nothing like a 30-something, purple haired, fiercely independent, goal-scoring, guitar-strumming, outspoken, relentless competitor that stands for all that is beautiful, all that is good, all that is us. Now that’s America. Thanks, Megan. Let’s go USA!" (An abbreviated version is above.)
The ad debuted on the eve of the U.S. women’s soccer team’s World Cup semifinal match against England. It also came six days after Trump attacked Rapinoe on Twitter for saying, “I am not going to the fucking White House” should the U.S. team win the Cup. Trump's response on Twitter: “Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!" He also suggested that Rapinoe should “never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team.”
Rapinoe has appeared in other ads in recent weeks, including for Visa, but BodyArmor’s ad seems like a direct response to the president’s Twitter post. A representative for the brand did not immediately respond to an email when asked that question. But in a description of the ad, a representative described Rapinoe as “a break-out star for the U.S. soccer team this World Cup, both on and off the field.”
On Instagram, where Rapinoe posted the ad on her account, the spot drew predictable levels of support and hate from across the political spectrum.
One comment, “so fierce I’m obsessed,” was quickly followed by this one (in all caps:) “LIBERAL WHITE RACIST TRAITOR !!”
It is reminiscent of the response Nike got last year when it made an ad starring Colin Kaepernick, who led the NFL's anthem protests. That move paid off when it won favorable reviews and sales from young urban buyers the brand covets. BodyArmor, whose backers include Kobe Bryant, signed up Rapinoe as an endorser in 2018. Like Nike, the brand could benefit by aligning itself with a progressive sports star. Coca-Cola Co. has a minority stake in BodyArmor.
Rapinoe, incidentally, is linked to Kaepernick: As Mother Jones recently reported, she was the “first white or female athlete to take a knee during the national anthem in support of football player Colin Kaepernick’s protest of America’s systemic oppression of people of color.” The liberal magazine also pointed out that “she is not singing the anthem during this year’s World Cup. And she has been outspoken on LGBTQ issues and social change.”
Rapinoe has stood by her comments about the White House visit, only apologizing for using an expletive, because “my mom would be very upset about that.” But, she told reporters, “I don’t think that I would want to go [to the White House] and I would encourage my teammates to think hard about lending that platform or having that co-opted by an administration that doesn’t feel the same way and fight for the same things we fight for.”