Let the Women’s World Cup Get Political

When athletes become advocates around hot-button issues, Christians need not retreat.

All the reasons that we love following sporting events become even more enticing when the game is played at the highest level of competition and on a global scale.

This month’s FIFA Women’s World Cup brings the excitement and emotions of tournament play, wrapped up in the paradoxical feeling of watching games in which we act as if everything is at stake for us when in reality, very little truly is.

The US Women's National Soccer Team (USWNT) has taken center stage, advancing into the quarterfinals; three more victories and the USWNT will maintain its title of best women’s soccer team in the world. Even Americans who otherwise don’t follow soccer feel a sense of pride and patriotism watching our team dominate on the field.

The players wearing the American flag on their jerseys also have distinct views about the nation they represent—what they see as the values most important to take a stand for, draw attention to, and speak out about.

Twenty-eight members of the USWNT have joined in a lawsuit arguing that the US Soccer Federation is in violation of the Equal Pay Act, since the women’s team makes a fraction of the men’s team, even though they play more games and have drawn in more viewers in recent years.

Megan Rapinoe, considered the “heart and soul” of the US squad, does not participate in the national anthem, in solidarity with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Additionally, the team has offered their support of LGBT rights, with many of the USWNT players and coaches themselves belonging to LGBT communities.

Overall, the USWNT has not been shy about sharing their views—they follow a long legacy of American athletes who use their platform to address major issues. …

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