USA football superstar Megan Rapinoe reckons that the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi can leverage their stupendous level of popularity in the fight against racism. Rapinoe, a two-time World Cup winner, is known for her outspoken views on political and social matters. Also Read - We Hope Lionel Messi Can Be Seduced Into Staying at Barcelona: Gerard Pique
Since the Black Lives Matter (BLM) wave swept through the world earlier this year following the killing of an unarmed Black man in USA, football, like other sports, has taken steps to show its support towards eradicating the menace of racism. However, Rapinoe feels there needs to be a deeper level of activism and not just symbolic gestures including wearing BLM logos. Also Read - Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo Pay Heartfelt Tribute to 'Eternal' Diego Maradona
“They could do so much if they decided to use their stupendous level of popularity to fight racism, for example,” she told L’Equipe Mag. “I’m not talking about wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt, I’m talking about going deeper.” Also Read - FIFA Best Football Awards 2020: Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Neymar And Robert Lewandowski Feature in Nominees' List
The 35-year-old also wants the upcoming generations of footballers to speak up and make the change, pointing out the immensely talented French footballer Kylian Mbappe.
“I hope he (Mbappe) understands the impact he can have, and how this influence can prove to be formidable for himself,” she said. “He came into the world with an extraordinary gift which allows him to lead an extraordinary, very comfortable life. Perhaps he can ask himself how to establish a balance, how to inspire youth.”
“I hope he understands that he can change the world, that it is not just an empty idea. Sometimes you decide for yourself to change the world, sometimes it falls on you. If you want to be the king, then be the best king you can be,” he added.
She also cited the examples from other popular sports personalities including five-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton and NBA superstar LeBrone James who have used their positions to spread the message.
“Lewis Hamilton’s willingness to speak out is incredible, not to mention LeBron James, as they are at the centre of colossal economic powers,” she explained, speaking of the F1 world champion and the NBA superstar. Naomi Osaka, who at the US Open wore masks with the names of black people killed by US police like Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. In the middle of tennis the tennis world, which is so white! These athletes inspire me. There is like an invisible thread between us. We must not be shy,” she said.