ESPN was bashed for an homage to US women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe shortly after the team was bounced from the World Cup — thanks largely to her missed penalty kick.
The sports network ran a three-minute segment narrated by Rapinoe’s fiancee, WNBA legend Sue Bird, on Sunday morning that paid tribute to the soccer star’s 20-year career.
The tribute, titled “Unapologetically Rapinoe,” so soon after the two-time defending champs’ stunning defeat to Sweden in the the quarterfinals didn’t sit will with Clay Travis, a sports journalist and founder of Outkick, a sports-focused news site.
“Here’s how ESPN covered Rapinoe and the US women’s choke job. This isn’t sports, it’s left wing propaganda,” Travis tweeted on Monday.
“Megan Rapinoe airmailed her penalty kick & the US women’s soccer team had their worst World Cup performance ever,” he added.
His post was accompanied by a 17-second clip of the tribute, which showed a slew of photos of Rapinoe kneeling during the national anthem as her teammates stood with their hands on their hearts.
“Her patriotism has led her to lend her voice to those who need it,” Bird said in the segment.
“When she started kneeling to protest racial inequality in the United States, she did it because she loved America and beloved it could be a better version of itself.”
However, her missed penalty kick was the deciding blow in the team’s 5-4 loss in penalty shootouts after the two teams finished regulation in a scoreless draw.
Scoring goals had been the team’s biggest problem on the field during the tournament — being held in Australia and New Zealand — but the US squad also sparked outrage after several starters refused to sing the national anthem before the start of their games.
“Many of our players were openly hostile to America – No other country behaved in such a manner, or even close,” Trump posted on Truth Social on Sunday. “WOKE EQUALS FAILURE.”
“Nice shot Megan, the USA is going to Hell!!!! MAGA.”
Megyn Kelly had blamed Rapinoe for being the ringleader of the anti-American sentiment.
“She’s poisoned the entire team against the country for which they play,” Kelly said.
“I don’t know about you, but I’m not rooting for them. I’m not with them. I hope they lose … It’s shameful.”
Rapinoe has been a lightning rod throughout her career. She refused a White House trip after the team’s victory at the 2019 World Cup, and began kneeling during the national anthem in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick in 2015.
She has also led the fight for equal pay with the US men’s soccer team took up the cause of transgender women in women’s sports before this latest World Cup held Down Under.
“Now we care about women’s sports? That’s total bulls–t,” Rapinoe told Time last month. “And show me all the trans people who are nefariously taking advantage of being trans in sports. It’s just not happening.”
An editorial on OutKick’s website slammed the ESPN segment as “bizarre.”
“Instead of focusing on Rapinoe’s many accomplishments on the field, of which there are plenty, ESPN couldn’t help but make politics the center of attention. Not only did the network bring politics into the mix, it delivered them in its typical left-leaning way,” the story read.
The publication is owned by Fox Corp., the sister company of The Post’s corporate parent, News Corp.