Megan Rapinoe has no problem placing blame when it comes to the debate on transgender athletes.
In a wide-ranging feature for TIME Magazine prior to the upcoming Women’s World Cup, Rapinoe said she had a problem with Dave Chappelle, Martina Navratilova and Sage Steele for their opposition to transgender women playing in women’s sports.
“I don’t want to mince words about it,” Rapinoe said. “Dave Chappelle making jokes about trans people directly leads to violence, whether it’s verbal or otherwise, against trans people. When Martina or Sage or whoever are talking about this, people aren’t hearing it just in the context of elite sports. They’re saying, ‘The rest of my life, this is how I’m going to treat trans people.’”
Rapinoe continued to take issue with policies targeting transgender athletes.
“It’s particularly frustrating when women’s sports is weaponized,” she said. “Oh, now we care about fairness? Now we care about women’s sports? That’s total bullsh—t. And show me all the trans people who are nefariously taking advantage of being trans in sports. It’s just not happening.”
The U.S. soccer legend also said she would have no problem accepting a transgender woman on her team.
“Absolutely,” she said about the U.S. women’s soccer team having a transgender player.
“You’re taking a ‘real’ woman’s place,’ that’s the part of the argument that’s still extremely transphobic. I see trans women as real women.”
Chappelle made headlines in 2021 after he spoke out about transgender issues in his Netflix special “The Closer,” coming to the defense of J.K. Rowling, who has been accused of being transphobic.
Rapinoe, 38, who is embarking on her fourth and final World Cup starting July 20, announced she would retire from the NWSL at the end of this season earlier this month.
The outspoken leader of women’s soccer in the U.S. is likely to take on a lesser role on the field this time, serving as a veteran mentor to younger players as the team looks to win a third consecutive World Cup title.