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Megan Rapinoe Calls on Soccer World to Be 'Outraged' Over Inequality

Megan Rapinoe Calls on Soccer World to Be 'Outraged' Over Inequality

Megan Rapinoe

The World Cup champion delivered a rousing speech while accepting the award for FIFA's Female Player of the Year. 

Soccer champion and activist Megan Rapinoe earned the Golden Boot at the Women's World Cup when the U.S. Women's National Team won the tournament in June. This week she was named FIFA (soccer's governing body) Female Player of the Year. And she used her time at the podium to call for people to step out of their comfort zones and stand up for marginalized communities.

Rapinoe, who found herself in a public feud with Donald Trump amid the World Cup because she said she wouldn't visit his White House, spoke at the FIFA award ceremony in Milan about those whose bravery has inspired her, according to CNN.

"I was going to say some of the stories that have inspired me most this year; Raheem Sterling and Koulibaly [not only for] their incredible performances on the field, but the way that they've taken on the disgusting racism that they have to face this year, but probably for their whole lives," said Rapinoe, who earlier in the speech thanked her girlfriend, WNBA player Sue Bird.

"The young Iranian woman who eventually set herself on fire because she wasn't able to go to the game," she said. "The one out [Major League Soccer] player, Mr. [Collin] Martin, and the countless other female out LGBTQ players who fight so hard every day just to play the sport that they love, but also fight the rampant homophobia that we have."

"Those are all the stories that inspire me so much. But they also admittedly make me a little bit sad and a little bit disappointed," Rapinoe said before issuing a call to action for everyone to get involved in fighting for marginalized people.

"If we really want to have meaningful change, what I think is most inspiring would be if everybody else was as outraged about racism as they are, if everybody was as outraged about homophobia as the LGBTQ players, if everybody was as outraged about equal pay or the lack thereof or the lack of investment in the women's game other than just women, that would be the most inspiring thing to me," Rapinoe said.

The multiple World Cup winner and gold medalist has led by example in terms of fighting for causes outside of her own. She routinely kneels during the national anthem to protest police brutality against people of color.

"We have such an incredible opportunity being professional football players. We have so much success, financial and otherwise. We have incredible platforms. I ask everyone here -- lend your platform to other people. Lift other people up, share your success," Rapinoe said.

"We have a unique opportunity in football different to any other sport in the world to use this beautiful game to actually change the world for better," she said. "That's my charge to everyone. I hope you take that to heart and just do something, do anything. We have incredible power in this room."

Watch Rapinoe's speech below.

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Tracy E. Gilchrist