Fact Check

Did ESPN 'Cancel' Megan Rapinoe's Post-Retirement Broadcast Gig After World Cup Loss?

The loss of the U.S. Women's National Team at the 2023 Soccer World Cup came with a marked increase in online trolling.

Published Aug 8, 2023

 (Photo by Carmen Mandato/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)
Image Via Photo by Carmen Mandato/USSF/Getty Images for USSF
ESPN canceled its offer to U.S. Women's National Team star Megan Rapinoe of "a nice cushy broadcasting job" after her performance at the 2023 Women's World Cup.

On Aug. 7, 2023, the "Dunning-Kruger Times" reported that Megan Rapinoe's poor performance at the 2023 World Cup resulted in ESPN rescinding an offer of broadcast gig at the network: 

ESPN had a nice cushy broadcasting job ready and waiting for Megan Rapinoe. All she had to do was make it to her career's end without incident. She failed miserably, and now she has nothing planned for the next…several decades.

After flubbing a penalty kick on an open net and sending her team back home in disgrace, Rapinoe sealed her fate by affirming that she doesn't care what "flag-waving nationalist stooges" think of her or her performance.

The Dunning-Kruger Times is named after the Dunning-Kruger Effect, a concept in psychology "in which poor performers in many social and intellectual domains seem largely unaware of just how deficient their expertise is." 

The site is part of the America's Last Line of Defense Network "of parody, satire, and tomfoolery" that purports to bait conservatives to share false news. Outside of this site, which does not report factual information, there is no evidence that ESPN had offered such a job in the first place. 

Rapinoe, an activist who has knelt during the national anthem and advocated for equal pay between the mens and womens U.S. National soccer teams, is a frequent target of largely right-wing animus. To say she has no post-retirement plans — or that those plans ever included ESPN — would be false, as reported by Time in July 2023:

The specifics of Rapinoe's post–World Cup, post-soccer plans are less certain. She's already started a production company, called A Touch More, with [wife Sue] Bird that "centers stories of revolutionaries who move culture forward." Despite her political engagement, she says she'll never run for office. She talks about being a "mogul for women's sports, a mogul for good."

Whatever she does, don't expect her to fade away. Even after she hangs up her spikes, Rapinoe, the bold, loud changemaker who lives for the big moments, will still seek out the noise. "I have this incredible privilege and platform and hope that I can turn that into rocket fuel for the next phase of everything," she says. "I want to make the world a better place. And I will pull that lever slowly, relentlessly, and ruthlessly, forever." 

Because the source of this story has a disclaimer indicating it is a work of satire, and because the claims within that satire are not rooted in fact, we have rated the claim as "Labeled Satire."

For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.


Dunning, David. "Chapter Five - The Dunning–Kruger Effect: On Being Ignorant of One's Own Ignorance." Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, edited by James M. Olson and Mark P. Zanna, vol. 44, Academic Press, 2011, pp. 247–96. ScienceDirect, https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-385522-0.00005-6.

"Meet the Man Who Makes Fake News for Millions of Trump Supporters." The Independent, 19 Nov. 2018, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/fake-news-donald-trump-facebook-last-line-of-defense-conservatives-social-media-a8639981.html.

"Megan Rapinoe Won't Go Quietly." Time, 10 July 2023, https://time.com/6293102/megan-rapinoe-world-cup-2023-interview-retirement/.

Patriot, Flagg Eagleton-. "ESPN Cancels Rapinoe's Post-Retirement Broadcasting Career: 'She's Too Toxic.'" Dunning-Kruger-Times.Com, 7 Aug. 2023, https://dunning-kruger-times.com/espn-cancels-rapinoes-post-retirement-broadcasting-career-shes-too-toxic/.

Alex Kasprak is an investigative journalist and science writer reporting on scientific misinformation, online fraud, and financial crime.

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