Soccer

Women's World Cup: Donald Trump responds to Megan Rapinoe White House comments

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USATSI

Women's World Cup: Donald Trump responds to Megan Rapinoe White House comments

A day after video surfaced of United States Women's National Team co-captain Megan Rapinoe saying she's "not going to the f--king White House," President Donald Trump scolded Rapinoe in a series of tweets Wednesday morning. 

Trump tweeted that he will invite Rapinoe and her teammates to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. "win or lose," adding that Rapinoe "should never disrespect our [country], the White House, or our [flag]."

Rapinoe, 33, told Eight By Eight magazine in a video tweeted Tuesday that she didn't expect her team to be invited to the White House if they won the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France. She has been an outspoken critic of the president and faced criticism from his supporters for not singing or placing her right hand over her heart during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" before World Cup matches.

She told Yahoo Sports in May that "I'll probably never put my hand over my heart" and "I'll probably never sing the national anthem again." U.S. Soccer's bylaws do not mandate either, and say that anyone "representing a Federation national team shall stand respectfully during the playing of national anthems at any event in which the Federation is represented." U.S. Soccer instituted Policy 604-1 after Rapinoe became the first white athlete to kneel during the playing of the national anthem in September 2016.

Rapinoe kneeled before a game with her club team and then for the USWNT, telling The Associated Press she did so in solidarity with then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's protest of racial inequality and social injustice.

"Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties," she said at the time. "It was something small that I could do and something that I plan to keep doing in the future and hopefully spark some meaningful conversation around it. It’s important to have white people stand in support of people of color on this. We don’t need to be the leading voice, of course, but standing in support of them is something that’s really powerful.”

U.S. Soccer criticized her at the time, and enacted Policy 604-1 as a response. Trump told The Hill on Tuesday that he didn't think it was "appropriate" for Rapinoe to not put her hand over her heart during the anthem or to have knelt previously. 

The president tweeted Wednesday that Rapinoe should stop doing so because "so much has been done for her [and] the team." Rapinoe is one of 28 USWNT players who have sued U.S. Soccer for "institutionalized gender discrimination" in how their team is paid and treated in comparison to the men's national team.

The two sides agreed to mediation last week. 

Although the president claimed that "leagues and teams love coming to the White House" other than the NBA, Business Insider found that 10 of 20 champions in the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, WNBA, college football and men's and women's college basketball did not go to the White House since Trump took office.

Trump tweeted in September 2017 that he disinvited the then-reigning NBA champion Warriors from the White House after Steph Curry reiterated he and his teammates did not want to go. The president did the same after the Philadelphia Eagles won their first Super Bowl in 2018 following reports that as few as two players would attend the ceremony. 

Champion teams previously visited the White House beforehand, but it became routine under President Ronald Reagan. The USWNT visited with Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama after winning World Cup titles in 1991, 1999 and 2015, respectively. 

Earthquakes' Thompson wants focus on coronavirus, not sports right now

Earthquakes' Thompson wants focus on coronavirus, not sports right now

Earthquakes right back Tommy Thompson had an early read on the coronavirus pandemic. But even seeing the entire 11-million population of Wuhan, China on complete lockdown, he didn’t know how or if it would translate to North America or beyond.

“We were all just confused by it,” Thompson told NBC Sports California of discussions with his teammates. “There wasn’t any real indication from the league or management that this would have the potential to cause our league to come to a standstill.”

The Quakes had completed a full training camp, and already played their first two matches when MLS suspended the season in mid-March.

“It’s been bizarre,” Thompson said. “My heart goes out to everyone affected by coronavirus, and at this point, everyone has been affected some way or another.”

Recently as two weeks ago, the MLS had targeted a return for May 10, which might already seem outdated, and distant from life priorities. Thompson says the best approach might be to avoid the highs and lows of over-speculating.

“It’s important for us to focus on the virus and fattening the curve,” Thompson said. “After that, sports will come. Life will return back to normal. It’s important to look forward to that time, but you can’t get too caught up in getting excited or disappointed.”             

In the mean time, the Sacramento native has been keeping busy with two new-found activities: Cooking, and launching his YouTube channel.

He recently uploaded more than 50 soccer trick and instructional videos, specifically aimed at keeping a young audience entertained and developing their skills.

[RELATED: Premier League extends coronavirus stoppage]

“I wanted to challenge kids of the United States to do different skills that I used to work on in the garage of my home,” Thompson said. “I thought now would be the perfect time to communicate that it’s still possible to practice.”

Thompson has seen rewarding growth, from literally zero, to tens of thousands of views in a week.

“It shows that kids need this right now,” Thompson said. “And it makes me excited to see that they’re staying productive by watching, and doing these drills at home.”

Premier League extends coronavirus pause, proposes 30 percent wage cut

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AP

Premier League extends coronavirus pause, proposes 30 percent wage cut

The Premier League is pushing back its restart date indefinitely amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it announced in a statement Friday.

After bringing together the league’s top officials on a video conference, it was decided that the original hopes to begin playing again at the beginning of May were premature.

“It was acknowledged that the Premier League will not resume at the beginning of May,” the statement read. “And that the 2019/20 season will only return when it is safe and appropriate to do so. The restart date is under constant review with all stakeholders, as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic develops and we work together through this very challenging time.

“The Premier League is working closely with the whole of professional football in this country, as well as with the Government, public agencies and other relevant stakeholders to ensure the game achieves a collaborative solution.”

[RELATED: Best PL storylines we would've watched if season continued]

Players also are facing a wage reduction of up to 30 percent as the league deals with the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.

Until health officials declare that social distancing regulations can be lifted, don’t expect to see much in the way of live sports.