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Megan Rapinoe Accepts 2019 Sportsperson of the Year, Discusses Importance of Truth


Megan Rapinoe says she's done a lot of self-reflecting since the USWNT's World Cup victory.

And speaking Monday night at Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year event in New York City, Rapinoe pushed people to recognize the importance of truth. 

"I think my success bears witness to, not only the necessity of speaking truth to power, but also the power of truth," she said. "I invite, I encourage, I urge, I demand, I will hand-hold your a** to this. And whatever way it needs to be said to you.

"But for all of us to think deeply about the way we bear witness to the world around us. In our communities, in our workplaces, in our work, in our relationships, and ultimately in our shared experiences—because that's really all this life is. Because not only do I believe we can be better, I believe that we together—we are just better."

Earlier Monday, Rapinoe was named Sports Illustrated's 2019 Sportsperson of the Year, becoming only the fourth woman in the award's 66-year history to win it unaccompanied.

Rapinoe received the honor this year after winning the World Cup with the USWNT and being a vocal activist for equality. 

After saying she wouldn't visit the White House and being called out on Twitter by President Donald Trump, Rapinoe responded with an iconic goal celebration in the quarterfinal match against France when she struck a pose with her arms outstretched. 

The image quickly went viral on social media and the world turned it into a symbol for her patriotism and activism. 

"It was kind of like a 'F--- you,' but with a big smile and a s--- eating grin," Rapinoe told SI's Jenny Vrentas about her pose. "You are not going to steal any of our joy."

Her dominance on and off the pitch turned her into a voice for many around the world.

As Vrentas wrote, Rapinoe was chosen "not because of her newfound fame but because of how she’s handled it. She owned the biggest moment of her life and silenced all the doubts.”

You can read Rapinoe's cover story with Jenny Vrentas here and look back at some of her best moments in 2019 here.