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Sue Bird backs Megan Rapinoe's perception of ‘cute White girls’ in women’s soccer

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It has been 13 days since Sue Bird and the Seattle Storm claimed their fourth WNBA Championship. 

The 16-year pro and 11x WNBA All-Star hoisted up the championship trophy as the green and yellow confetti fell to the court. Bird walked over, embraced and kissed her girlfriend Megan Rapinoe who had been in the ‘Wubble’ supporting her girlfriend. 

Talk about quite the resume between this power couple:

Let’s rewind one year and a few months to 2019, and the USWNT was the talk of the nation. 

It wasn’t just Rapinoe’s new purple hair, the team’s constant dominance throughout the World Cup, or their fight for equal pay that sparked a lot of chatter surrounding this team. This was America’s Team and the perception of them is generally positive. 

Here’s what Rapinoe said in her letter to The Players’ Tribune on Oct. 5:

“When it comes to U.S. women’s soccer, the general perception is that — let’s face it — we’re the white girls next door. The straight, “cute,” “unthreatening,” “suburban” white girls next door. It’s not actually who we are — the WNT’s racial diversity, though not yet where it needs to be, is improving every year. And, you know, breaking news….. I’m gay. But by and large, that’s the perception. And it’s certainly how we’re marketed to a lot of people.”

There is an opposite reaction towards the WNBA. 

 

How many have already forgotten about the WNBA season? How many “get back in the kitchen” or “women can’t dunk so what’s the point” comments do you see whenever a major sports outlet posts anything on the WNBA? We’ll answer that for you: a lot. 

So why is there this huge discrepancy between specific sports under the umbrella of women’s sports?

Bird backed up Rapinoe’s comments on CNN’s “World Sport” with Don Riddell on Saturday:

"To be completely blunt, but also kind of simple, soccer players generally are cute little white girls. And I think basketball players, we're all shapes and sizes.

"It's 70-80% Black women, a lot of gay women. We're tall; we're big. And I think there's just maybe this intimidation factor with that,” said Bird. 

People are quick to talk about it, judge it, put it down. And soccer, you just don't see that just based on how they look.

Sue Bird

The solution to the problem in discrepancy isn’t an easy fix. It’s not like putting a Band-Aid over a cut or some Gorilla Glue on a leak. 

No, the problem is much deeper than that and demands a long-term solution. 

"The problem is not the marketing, per se," Bird told Riddell. "The problem is how society and how the outside world is willing to accept the cute girl next door, but not willing to accept, or embrace, or not judge these basketball players who are tall, Black, gay.

"That's kind of, to me, where the issue is. Where I feel like I've learned throughout that process is you have to be who you are. You have to be true to who you are and authentic.

"We [the WNBA] are representing all that we are. We're representing every day the values that we want to push forward in our world. And I feel like you can go to bed at night and sleep well knowing you're being true to yourself, and that's more important than anything."

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