In memoir 'One Life,' Megan Rapinoe opens up about equality in women's sports, coming out journey and fight for racial justice

Vinciane Ngomsi
·Yahoo Sports Contributor
·3 min read

Olympic gold medalist and two-time Women's World Cup champion Megan Rapinoe is highlighting both her triumphs and tribulations in new memoir “One Life.” Released nationwide Tuesday, the 35-year-old’s first book chronicles growing up in a conservative Northern California town to her dominance in women’s sports. Rapinoe also touches on personal topics such as her brother’s struggles with substance abuse and her continuous fight for racial and gender equality.

Rapinoe credits Colin Kaepernick and WNBA players as inspiration behind her own activism

Rapinoe asserts that WNBA athletes did not receive full acknowledgement for being the first to publicly denounce police brutality and racial discrimination against Black Americans. It was their relentless efforts and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s bravery in 2016 that motivated the OL Reign midfielder to use her platform to speak out against these inequities.

“Slowly, the dots started connecting,” she writes. “There was no point campaigning for one cause, without laying it on the line for another … we’re not free until we’re all free; that it wasn’t a question of protesting against racial injustice as if it were my own cause, but doing so because this was also my fight.”

FRISCO, TX - MARCH 11: United States forward Megan Rapinoe (15) celebrates with teammates and fans after scoring a goal during the SheBelieves Cup match between United States and Japan on March 11, 2020, at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, TX. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
USWNT star Megan Rapinoe is getting personal in her new memoir. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kaepernick famously kneeled during the national anthem in a preseason game on August 26, 2016. Nine days later, Rapinoe followed suit and kneeled ahead of the Reign’s match against the Chicago Red Stars. The following spring, U.S. Soccer mandated that all athletes stand during the anthem. That policy has since been reversed, but Rapinoe conveyed to ESPN’s Julie Foudy why the rule disenfranchised her Black teammates.

“They were silencing me and then sort of in effect silencing, or working to silence, any other player, particularly any other Black player who would have tried to kneel,” the reigning Golden Boot winner explained. “So if they're going to treat me the way that they did, what does that say to AD [Adrianna Franch] or Crystal [Dunn] or Lynn [Williams] or Christen Press? What does it say to those players?”

The story behind that infamous pose

Known for her clever style of play, Rapinoe broke the internet when she opened the scoring against France in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Women’s World Cup. The free kick itself was legendary, but it was a jubilant Rapinoe with her arms outstretched and slight smirk that captured the world’s attention.

United States' forward Megan Rapinoe celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the France 2019 Women's World Cup quarter-final football match between France and United States, on June 28, 2019, at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
Twitter went ablaze after Megan Rapinoe struck this pose during the 2019 Women's World Cup quarterfinals. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / Getty Images)

The U.S. Women’s National Team would go on to defeat Netherlands to win their fourth championship, and Rapinoe again made headlines when she passionately yelled “I DESERVE THIS!” during the team’s celebration stateside. In the 240-page read, Rapinoe reiterated that viral moment was her “speaking for women who are told to be selfless, invisible, meek; to accept less money, less respect ... who are told to be grateful, uncomplaining. Who are discouraged from owning their victories or even seeking them out in the first place.

“You can share, and help, and be part of your community and also stand tall and enjoy your success. No caveat, no apology. Arms out wide, claim your space.”

Between expert analysis of memorable games and poignant advice about maintaining a winner’s mindset, “One Life” is a book filed with important lessons relevant both on and off the pitch. Co-written with British author Emma Brockes, find Megan Rapinoe’s debut novel at Amazon and Penguin Random House. Limited copies of signed books can be purchased at Barnes & Noble.

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