The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is getting ready to kick off in Australia and New Zealand later this month. The U.S. Women’s National Team is once again entering the tournament as favorites, and it will be a final bow of sorts for one long-time player.
Megan Rapinoe announced earlier this week that the 2023 World Cup will be her last. She is retiring at the end of the current National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season. Ever the outspoken activist, Rapinoe is featured in the latest issue of Time, where the conversation turned to her opinion on trans athletes in sports. She told the magazine she would “absolutely” accept a trans teammate and called out those who disagree.
On Wednesday’s show, Megyn was joined by Joe Pags, host of The Joe Pags Show, to discuss Rapinoe’s comments and why it’s hard to believe she is being truthful.
Rapinoe’s Fight for Trans Rights
Rapinoe may be “a great soccer player,” but Megyn said she is “an annoying person.” One such reason is the comments she made to Time in an article titled “Megyn Rapinoe Won’t Go Quietly.” Writer Sean Gregory dives into the Olympic gold medalist’s upbringing, career, and, yes, activism. “Now that she’s made all of her millions, she has a little message for the rest of us,” Megyn said. “And that is: We’re not allowed to say anything she doesn’t approve of when it comes to trans athletes.”
Having helped lead the charge for equal pay in women’s sports, Gregory painted the topic of trans participation in athletics as the next chapter in Rapinoe’s crusade for equality. “With equal pay on the books, Rapinoe has shifted her focus to trans-rights advocacy,” he wrote. “She’s particularly contemptuous of policies designed to keep transgender girls and women from playing on female sports teams.”
‘Weaponizing’ Women’s Sports
In the article, Rapinoe claimed the U.S. is “trying to legislate away people’s full humanity” and “weaponize” women’s sports. “It’s particularly frustrating when women’s sports is weaponized,” she said. “Oh, now we care about fairness? Now we care about women’s sports? That’s total bullsh-t. And show me all the trans people who are nefariously taking advantage of being trans in sports. It’s just not happening.”
Actually, it is happening, Megyn argued, and she brought the names of just a few of the trans women who have beaten biological females in competitive sports. “I’ll start with the obvious: Lia Thomas – that’s one that comes to mind,” she said. “So does the North Carolina volleyball player who seriously injured [Payton McNabb] playing opposite her.” New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, meanwhile, was the first openly transgender woman to compete in the Olympic Games.
In women’s cycling, Megyn called attention to Austin Killips, Emily Bridges, Rachel McKinnon, Tara Seplavy, Lesley Mumford, Tiffany Thomas, and Molly Cameron, who have all won events and prize money. “Let’s go to Connecticut… and the two girls we had on the show,” she said. “[They] lost scholarships or who didn’t get the advantages or the placements that they hoped for in running because they lost to two trans guys who had done absolutely nothing to make themselves less full of testosterone, like Terry Miller and Andrea Yearwood.” Athena Ryan is another high school runner who has finished on the podium in girls’ events.
“We could go all day long,” Megyn said. “Do your homework before you get out there and spew a bunch of nonsense because there are a lot of trans people taking women’s spots, opportunities, and prize money all the way from poker to cycling to running to weightlifting – open your eyes.”
Rapinoe also said that she would “absolutely” welcome a trans woman onto the U.S. women’s soccer team. “‘You’re taking a “real” woman’s place,’ that’s the part of the argument that’s still extremely transphobic,” she shared. “I see trans women as real women.” Pags pointed out that it’s a much easier position to take when you’ve already announced your retirement. “She’s all for men playing against women and men posing as women in women’s sports now that it doesn’t affect her,” he noted.
Rapinoe Condemns ‘Violent’ Jokes
Rapinoe told Gregory that anyone who questions trans participation in women’s sports – as tennis great Martina Navratilova and ESPN anchor Sage Steele have – is doing immense harm. “When Martina or Sage or whoever are talking about this, people aren’t hearing it just in the context of elite sports,” she warned. “They’re saying, ‘The rest of my life, this is how I’m going to treat trans people.’”
Another danger? Dave Chappelle and his comedy sets. “I don’t want to mince words about it,” Rapinoe said. “Dave Chappelle making jokes about trans people directly leads to violence, whether it’s verbal or otherwise, against trans people.” Megyn wasn’t buying it. “How? Where? When? What specific instances,” she asked. “Because you’re making that up…. and it’s something activists like Megan Rapinoe use to try to silence dissenting voices, and it’s really irresponsible.”
Pags noted that Rapinoe’s logic bears out, however, if you are of the belief that language is dangerous. “They believe that if you say something about a trans person, that is violence,” he said. “But you and I both know that words can’t be violence, so it doesn’t make any sense.”
Does Rapinoe Believe What She Is Saying?
As an athlete, Pags said Rapinoe should understand the biological differences between males and females better than most. After all, her highly decorated USWNT squad just got blown out 12 to 1 in a June matchup against the Ryan Reynolds-owned Wrexham A.F.C. The all-male club plays in England’s fourth-tier league. “I just wonder what she’s gaining by knowingly lying to the American public,” Pags asked. “I don’t know that Megan Rapinoe is unintelligent. I think that she thinks she stands to gain something.”
When you consider what Navratilova, Riley Gaines, Caitlyn Jenner, and others have said about their experiences in women’s and men’s sports, Pags said it is hard to take Rapinoe seriously. “Maybe I’m giving her too much credit… but I think Megan Rapinoe knows she’s a liar,” he said. “I’m at the point where I want to know why.”
Megyn had a guess and said that it is not dissimilar to why she thinks companies like Disney are allowing themselves to take a beating in the culture wars. “It’s something called psychic income,” she concluded. “And that’s what I think she’s getting.”
You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Pags by tuning in to episode 586 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.