An open letter to Megan Rapinoe from a naturalized citizen

An open letter to Megan Rapinoe from a naturalized citizen

First, I want to congratulate you, you are living example of what the American dream is about.

You are female and you have broken a glass ceiling in a male dominated industry.

Megan, you are an amazing athlete without a doubt, nobody is taking that away from you. However, you complain often about inequality in United States and use your platform to be entitled, hateful and disrespect the United States flag and national anthem, symbols that represents opportunity, freedom to voice dissent, freedom to gather, freedom to worship how you see fit or to not worship at all, valor, innocence, perseverance, sacrifice and justice. So many of our servicemembers, men and women, straight and gay, representing every ethnic group in this country, have come home draped under that flag and escorted by a somber honor guard. Some of my closest friends gave everything while fighting for the ideals that the United States flag represents. This is the same flag that I joyfully swore allegiance when I became a naturalized citizen!

I don’t know what inequality you speak of. You came from a middle class family, your parents probably encouraged you to play soccer as a child just like I have encouraged my own 8 year old daughter to do so. We live in an incredible society that encourages our daughters to get out and play organized sports. We invest in them; organized sports are not free let alone cheap.Your parents invested a great deal of time and money investing in your natural talents so that you could take your love for soccer all the way to the pinnacle of the sport. This is not the case for so much of the world. If you doubt this you only need to look to Thailand whose World Cup Team you and your teammates destroyed. Better yet, look at the country I was born into, Colombia. Our mens soccer team is one of the best in the whole world. These men didn’t have the tools or resources to practice like you did as a young child! There were no development leagues or summer camps. Many of them learned how to play soccer in the streets of Cartagena and Barranquilla.They learned to play shoeless because their parents couldn’t afford shoes. They honed their skills in cities that average 90 F in a good day, however that never stopped them from wanting to pursue their dream. These young men who grew up in the slums without any of the opportunity that kids here in the United States have never complain, they sing their national anthem and stand for their flag at every game with pride. They are grateful to represent their country globally. There is still slavery in my birth country.  My birth country still grapples with poverty far deeper than what we experience here, and the lives of at risk kids on the street are cheap. The players standing and singing the national anthem are very much aware of this, many of them come from poverty themselves. They know this, yet they understand that they are players not political activists, and that people in the audience represent different backgrounds and political parties.They know that hating their flag and anthem is not going to fix the problem, if anything it will create more problems and division. You are supposed to represent AMERICANS as a whole regardless of race, gender or political party.

There is a scene in “Band of Brothers” that I love. In that scene, Major Winters sees his disgraced former commanding officer, Captain Sobel.  As Winters sits in his jeep, Sobel walks by with another soldier.  While his companion saluted Winters, Sobel looked the other way and pretended not to see him.  Winters called out to Sobel, and once he had his attention told him “We salute the rank, not the man.”  It is no secret that you despise President Trump.  You are free to express it, this is after all one of the values that our flag stands for.  I would like to remind you though that a trip to the White House is not an endorsement of President Trump, it is a part of what brings our country together behind a victorious national team.  To paraphrase Major Winters, we salute the office, not that man.  I did not support or respect President Obama because of his policies and his divisive and anti-cop rethoric, but had I been invited to the White House while he was in office, I would have been honored to have the opportunity to respect the office.

Based on those facts you and my 8-year-old daughter are privileged! Privileged because both of you were born in the best country of the world, a beacon of hope for the rest of the world, a country where many like me come to find success, that same success you have achieved.

The inequality in pay that you talk about has nothing to with the fact that you are a woman. The inequality exists only because people are not as interested in watching women sports. It is a pretty simple concept: supply and demand! I dream of a day when we are just as excited about women’s sports as we are about men’s sports, but until then men and women will be paid based on the viewership that their draw to their sport.

But let’s back up a little bit, you are damn lucky to have being born here specially as a female soccer player, let’s look at the inequalities in pay from what you make in comparison with female athletes around the world,  it only goes to show that our country is very supportive of female athletics.

You could do so much good with your platform, I actually refused to let my daughter watch the celebration you and your team mates had. I didn’t want her to see her role models, grownwomen, obviously drunk acting like idiots. This is not what I seek in a role model for my daughter! Do you know how many children look up to you? Those kids deserve better! It’s very difficult to respect you when you act like an entitled brat! Saying I deserve this on video does not teach girls like my daughter the importance of teamwork. You had an incredible tournament, but you don’t deserve the win, it was a team effort.  If World Cup victories were based on individual merit, both Ronaldo and Messi would have gold medals in their trophy cases. That video only goes to show how tone deaf you really are when it comes to team spirit. I never seen in my life seen or heard another athlete say such things after their team won a tournament. They always give credit to their respective teammates and coaches. I purposely didn’t want my daughter to see the display of ungratefulness and entitlement because I don’t want her to think that’s how winners should behave, specially Americans. I want my daughter to learn humility, to be gracious in victory and to recognize the contributions that others have made to her success.  This was sadly lacking from your comments. I invite you take a trip to my native Colombia and see for yourself the conditions children there are learning to play soccer, and how few opportunities there are in the sport for girls.Maybe then you will realize how lucky you are to be an athlete in the best country of the world!