Some Conservatives Are Now Angry at Megan Rapinoe Because She Dropped the American Flag

Megan Rapinoe further enshrined her status as an American hero as she scored and captained the United States Women's Soccer team to victory over the Netherlands in the World Cup final on Sunday. But to many conservatives, she became a greater villain.

Already facing a backlash for her fiery criticism of President Donald Trump and refusal to visit the White House if invited, Rapinoe, on Sunday, added a new transgression in the minds of some on the right: dropping the American flag.

As the U.S. side basked in the glory of its fourth World Cup title in France, a video circulated on social media of Rapinoe and teammate Allie Long celebrating in front of supporters in Lyon. In the clip, Rapinoe and Long drop a U.S. flag to the turf in order to raise their hands in a choreographed celebration with forward Alex Morgan. Teammate Kelly O'Hara swiftly picked up the flag.

megan, rapinoe, us, flag, american, world, cup
Megan Rapinoe of the USA celebrates following her sides victory in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Final match between The United States of America and The Netherlands at Stade de Lyon on July 7, 2019, in Lyon, France. Maja Hitij

While there appeared no intent to insult the American flag, some didn't see it that way.

Author and former Navy Seal Jonathan Gilliam, who posts regularly in support of Trump, described it the action on Twitter as "unpatriotic narcissistic behavior," saying Rapinoe was "neither a hero or a role model."

Gilliam, and others, also accused Rapinoe of stomping on the flag, something that does not happen in the video.

You should be disturbed by this unpatriotic narcissistic behavior. @mPinoe is neither a hero or a role model. I rewound and watched the entire celebration on the field. Rapinoe didn’t want anything to do with an #Americanflag before she stomped it. #repulsive

— Jonathan T Gilliam (@JGilliam_SEAL) July 7, 2019

Former Marine and a survivor of the 2012 attack in Benghazi John Tiegen, meanwhile, wrote on Instagram that "What should be an amazing occurence, is hijacked by the clown show to promote disrespect." Tiegen gave a speech before the Republican National Committee in 2016.

The incident was serious enough to prompt articles from the conservative outlet The Daily Caller as well as from Fox News.

"Allie Long, Megan Rapinoe Drop American Flag During World Cup Celebration," read the headline from the Daily Caller.

Rapinoe has long been a target of conservative ire, having previously kneeled during the national anthem before games to join NFL star Colin Kaepernick in protesting police brutality and racial injustice. While she stood for the anthem during the 2019 World Cup, comments she made earlier this year about a visit to the White House went viral during the tournament.

"I'm not going to the f***ing White House," Rapinoe told soccer magazine Eight by Eight. "No f***ing way will we be invited to the White House. [Trump] tries to avoid inviting a team that might decline. Or, like he did when the [Golden State] Warriors turned him down, he'll claim they hadn't been invited in the first place."

Trump responded in a series of tweets that he was a "big fan of the American Team, and Women's Soccer, but Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!"

"We haven't yet invited Megan or the team, but I am now inviting the TEAM, win or lose," Trump continued. "Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team. Be proud of the Flag that you wear. The USA is doing GREAT!"

Still Trump sent out a congratulatory tweet to the U.S. women's team after its 2-0 victory over the Netherlands.

Congratulations to the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team on winning the World Cup! Great and exciting play. America is proud of you all!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 7, 2019

Correction (7/9/19): This article originally stated that the Women's World Cup final was played in Lille. It was played in Lyon.

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