Former soccer star Brandi Chastain defended having the U.S. Women’s National Team visit the White House following its World Cup championship win Sunday.
“Having been to the White House multiple times, going to the White House is very special. It’s very historic for our country — it means a lot,” Chastain told CNN’s Brianna Keilar on Tuesday.
Midfielder Megan Rapinoe ignited a firestorm after she said the team was not “going to the f**king White House” over her opposition to President Donald Trump. She is most notable for protesting the national anthem in solidarity with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
“I’ll probably never put my hand over my heart,” Rapinoe said in June. “I’ll probably never sing the national anthem again.”
“You know, this is a ‘to each his own,'” Chastain said when asked if the team should accept Trump’s invitation if he decided to formally extend one. (RELATED: Sports Fans Puzzled By Unflattering Brandi Chastain Hall Of Fame Plaque)
“We are a world leader, so this is another opportunity for our team to potentially not make a statement about how we feel about our president, but how we feel about our country,” she continued. “We can determine where we go and why we go and how we go — that’s the decision they will have to make.”
The two-time Olympic gold medalist scored the game-winning penalty kick against China during the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Chastain was later named on the All-Time Best XI list by the United States Soccer Federation.
“It’s not an easy [decision] and I’m saddened that it is a little bit of a situation, so to speak,” Chastain said. “It shouldn’t be that way.”
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