Megan Rapinoe Credit: Pablo Torre Finds Out

Megan Rapinoe had her moment in the global spotlight during the U.S. women’s national soccer team dynasty when she protested racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem and speaking out against Donald Trump.

But despite vicious blowback online and on television and some awkward run-ins with family, Rapinoe realized over the years that most of the outrage was “fake,” she said in an interview on Pablo Torre Finds Out released Tuesday.

Rapinoe chose to kneel during the anthem in solidarity with Kaepernick and other Black American athletes who were protesting against police violence and racial injustice in the United States. Appearing on the show alongside her partner, Sue Bird, Rapinoe explained how she understood the emptiness of right-wingers’ response to her activism.

“The conversation that was being had in a negative way was so disingenuous because it wasn’t about what Colin (Kaepernick) was saying at all,” Rapinoe explained. “We’re talking about the military now? Like, we’re not talking about national security, we’re talking about the right to protest and the first amendment and police brutality and all these things. Immediately, I was like, ‘Oh, you’re trying to have a different conversation and one that slings mud at Colin and tries to discredit what he’s saying.'”

Rapinoe detailed one public experience in which someone told her they did not appreciate how she represented the country on the national team. Besides that, Rapinoe said she never faced trouble in the real world.

That made her realize that, for the most part, the outrage was limited to the bubble of the internet, even when the president of the United States chimes in.

“From my perspective, I was like I believe Colin, and I believe Black people generally,” Rapinoe told Torre. “Otherwise … you have to accuse them of lying, which is insane. So then it was just like, ‘Oh, this is disingenuous in general, particularly on social media.'”

Since focusing on racial injustice initially, Rapinoe has become a vocal advocate for transgender athletes’ rights and equal pay for women in sports. She knows it will generate some angry chatter online when she chooses to speak out.

But now, she sees it as ammunition more than a concern.

“I know when I’m on track when that part of the internet starts saying crazy things,” Rapinoe said. “I’m like, oh, thank you for the reinforcement and acknowledgment.”

[Pablo Torre Finds Out on YouTube]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.