Trump’s Olympics football tirade targets the United States, Canada and Sweden would like a word.

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UPDATE (August 6, 2021, 12:25 p.m. ET): This piece has been updated throughout the result of the gold medal game. Canada beat Sweden after a scoreless overtime and six rounds of penalties.

In what is clearly a desire to maintain a minimum of relevance, former President Donald Trump issued an unbalanced statement after the United States Women’s National Football Team – perhaps the most beloved national team in the world. America – won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

In what is clearly a mastery of maintaining a minimum of relevance, former President Donald Trump issued an unbalanced statement.

Trump attributed the team that won bronze instead of gold to being a “awakened” group of “radical … maniacal leftists.” He claimed that “everything that is woken up is bad”, which includes “our football team”.

The former president also tried to rekindle his feud with Megan Rapinoe, disrespecting her by refusing to say her name, simply calling her “the woman with the purple hair”. And, making it very clear that Trump didn’t watch the bronze medal game against Australia, he accused Rapinoe of playing “terribly”.

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But here’s the problem: The United States National Women’s Football Team, and women’s football in general, consistently mold sportsmanship in its most progressive and powerful form. The political commitment of the actors is a strength, not a weakness.

While it is clear that Trump’s argument is based on rhetoric and not fact, it is also worth highlighting how the two teams that played for gold on Friday, Canada and Sweden, openly did. defended progressive ideals.

First of all, let’s put that aside: it’s true that the USWNT hasn’t been at its best throughout the Olympics. They didn’t play as well as we’re used to seeing, due to a variety of factors including a new coach, aging players and tough games with top talent from all over the world. But in the 4-3 win over Australia, Rapinoe scored two goals. One of those goals was a corner; in 2012, she became the first to score from the corner in Olympic history. She did it a second time on Thursday, which is an incredible achievement. Playing “terribly” she did not.

Before losing to Sweden in the first round of the Tokyo Games, breaking their streak of 44 in a row, the Americans knelt for racial justice, sued their property for equal pay and gender discrimination and actively protested against their owners on the ground. They won the 2019 World Cup in the midst of it all.

It should be clear to anyone paying attention that progressive politics have no causal connection with defeat. It also didn’t have a negative impact on their popularity: they broke records for viewership and merchandise sales. They are not the opposite of “patriots,” as Trump claimed. They are the very definition.

The same goes for the teams that reached the game for the gold medal. The Canadian national team and the Tokyo gold medalists gave full support to Quinn, their non-binary teammate who will be the first openly trans athlete in Olympic history to win a medal. They too knelt in support of racial justice, and the team started using the hashtag #CANXNT, dropping the “W” to include Quinn. Players also wore transgender flag armbands during scrum matches.

Sweden, too, who were the favorites to win gold, drew attention to pay inequalities for female footballers around the world. “When we stop one day, we will fill places in these [soccer] organizations and keep fighting, ”Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl told Reuters in 2019.“ I think it must be some kind of public pressure, that we don’t accept what it is now. That same year, the Swedish men’s team lost pay for the second part of their season in solidarity with the women’s team and in protest against their unequal treatment.

Women’s football is, and always has been, a place where women players are not afraid to speak the truth to power. Trump may keep trying to piss off his base by attacking these amazing women, but the only thing he’s proving is how irrelevant he is. These women are changing the world, and the players who come after them will no doubt carry the same torch.

Playing for the United States National Women’s Football Team has long gone beyond simple wins and losses. Partly because of their global significance and in part a series of very conscious decisions made by several generations of stars, American women have ruled the world for decades, becoming a symbol of empowerment and equality for women. millions of people. Their bronze medal is not a failure, it was hard won. And that’s a lot more than what Trump won recently.

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