Megan Rapinoe and Steph Curry have more than championships in common. Both have been at the forefront of not sticking to sports.
Rapinoe has consistently been outspoken, most notably with her Twitter dustup with President Trump during last year's Women's World Cup, and has been driving for equal pay for the United States women's national soccer team.
Curry has recently joined several Black Lives Matter protests, including Juan Toscano-Anderson’s march in Oakland, and has come into his own as a voice for social causes, stating in 2017, “Sometimes it’s worse when you don’t say something.”
Rapinoe, a two-time World Cup champion and gold medalist, also lauds the way Curry supports women’s equality, noting the way he sprang into action when a 9-year old girl wrote him to ask if Under Armor could put shoes in her size on sale online. She remembers Curry’s Player’s Tribune article on Women’s Equality Day where he called out the pay gap and pledged “to always stay listening to women, to always stay believing in women.”
It helps that he also has two daughters, Riley and Ryan, who have become stars on Curry’s social media accounts and press conferences over the years.
“People underestimate how impactful ‘just saying it’ can be," Rapinoe explained to Logan Murdock and myself on Runnin’ Plays.
"If you have a big platform like Steph, he’s one of the most popular players in one of the most popular sports in our country. Lending your voice and talking about it ... It’s a more holistic conversation with everybody involved than just the oppressed group talking about the same thing.”
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Both stars use their platforms to shine light on social issues, understanding that when they speak, massive fanbases listen. Nearly 9.5 million people follow Curry on Facebook. He has 14.3 million Twitter followers. His Instagram followers are up to 30.6 million. For comparison, Rapinoe has 481,000 likes on Facebook, 905,000 Twitter followers, and 2.2 million Instagram followers.
Rapinoe sees it as an obligation for sports stars to take a stand. And while the interview with Runnin’ Plays took place in May, her comments are even more relevant today.
“We live in a culture that glories sports and props sports heroes up as important, Rapinoe said. “Everybody has a responsibility to make the world a better place. For athletes, we’re glorified. We have a microphone in front of our face. We’re on national TV, we represent brands, we have social media now. Insofar as we’re going to benefit from all of that, we have a responsibility to give back as well.”
Steph Curry is talking. When he speaks, it can turn into national news, adding more to his legacy than just championships and MVPs.