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Standing One’s Ground…

Iraq had won the AFC Asian Cup Football Tournament in 2007. The West Asian Nation was experiencing a Civil War at that time, with the US Army in its spree in occupying the country…
After winning the trophy, Iraqi forward Ahmad Mnajed said that he might have gone to his native place, Fallujah, and fight against US forces, had he not played football for the National Team! Meanwhile, the then US President, George W Bush (Jr), praised Iraq as he wanted to be a shareholder in the success of the Iraqi Squad. However, the Football World strongly criticised the President for politicising Iraq’s success in sports. Iraq’s Brazilian Manager Jorvan Vieira said: “This victory is most important for the Iraqi people. Not for me or my CV. I will never forget this because it was a special situation in special circumstances. You bring happiness for one country, not just one team. That is the most important thing.

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Iraq’s Asian Cup win was their biggest ever national sporting achievement

For a war-ravaged nation, it is really difficult to win an international sports event; and those, who politicise the success of a National Team in a football ground, are not good people! If there was someone, like Megan Rapinoe (of the US women’s football team), then she might have blurted out to President Bush (just like his successor Donald Trump)!
The average salary of the US women’s football team is around INR 3,000 less than the men’s team… however, the women’s team, unlike the men’s team, has secured its place in the list of world’s Top 16 squads. These Women, too, are ahead of those Men in TV ratings! That is why members of the Women’s Team accused the US Football Federation of practising Gender Discrimination, and moved the court in March! Their move stunned the Americans, as it was made just before the World Cup. Still, those women were making preparations for the mega event and the court delivered its verdict in favour of them! Captain Megan led her team not only inside the stadium, but also outside the playground.

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Megan Rapinoe kneels during the national anthem before the United States women’s national football team played the Netherlands at in Atlanta on September 18, 2016.

Who is Megan? Megan is the lady who had knelt down during the National Anthem before the US Women’s National Football Team played against the Netherlands in Atlanta on September 18, 2016 in protest of the police brutality and racism. Later, she said: “I can understand if you think that I’m disrespecting the flag by kneeling, but it is because of my utmost respect for the flag and the promise it represents that I have chosen to demonstrate in this way.” The star footballer stressed: “When I take a knee, I am facing the flag with my full body, staring straight into the heart of our country’s ultimate symbol of Freedom – because I believe it is my responsibility, just as it is yours, to ensure that Freedom is afforded to everyone in this country.
When President Donald Trump ridiculed Megan’s gesture, she slammed the president, saying: “I’m not going to the fucking White House (even if we will win the World Cup).” As Megan made the comment after helping her team win the Quarter-final match against France, the President responded on Twitter, stating: “Megan should WIN before she TALKS.” Megan stood by her sentiments and did not visit the White House even after winning the World Cup! Of course, Trump, as a President, had to greet the National Squad after their victory. And, Megan announced: “I’m extremely American.” It is clear from her remark that she targeted the Head of the State.

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The US women’s football team in 2016. From left: Alex Morgan, Hope Solo, Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd and Becky Sauerbrunn.

Why did Megan behave in this fashion? The star player claimed that she was a bit arrogant from birth! Without mentioning the name of the President, she said: “You will not steal our joy from us as a team.” After winning the final, Megan hugged and kissed her girlfriend and Women’s National Basketball Association point guard Sue Bird! By celebrating her love this way, the lesbian footballer became a statement of the LGBT movement! She argued that it was important for her to highlight her ideology at such a big stage! According to Megan, it becomes necessary to slap the POWER. She insisted that she traded barbs with President Trump for the sake of the common American people who were unhappy with the President’s behaviour. “I think Trump’s message excludes people that look like me and that are me, of course. But it excludes a lot of people in his base as well, and I think that he’s trying to divide so he can conquer, not unite so we all can conquer,” she added. Megan made her stand clear on various issues, stressing: “I’m gonna fight for equal pay every day, for myself, for my team and for every single person out there – man, woman, immigrant, US citizen, person of colour, whatever it may be. Equal pay, as the great Serena Williams said, ’til I’m in my grave.
Athlete Activism is a very common phrase. Diego Maradona’s Hand of God and Goal of the Century had helped Argentina beat England 2-1 in their 1986 World Cup quarter-final encounter in Mexico. For the Argentinians, the revenge for the Falklands War was sweeter than the Goal of the Century! Indeed, sports has the ability to blow away all the pillars of Power, such as Politics, Diplomacy, etc. It may be stated by some persons, like Trump, tend to divide the people for their own sake, while persons, like Megan, unite the people…

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