In 2023, at least two articles circulated online claiming that former U.S. women's national team soccer player Megan Rapinoe was going bankrupt. The rumor, while seemingly believed by some social media users, stemmed from sites that describe their output as satirical.
‘Go Woke, Go Broke’: Megan Rapinoe Is Going Bankrupt
In a plot twist that no one saw coming, the world of sports and finance has collided in an unexpected saga involving soccer superstar Megan Rapinoe. News has broken that Rapinoe, known for her outspoken activism and impressive on-field skills, is facing significant financial setbacks due to a failed penalty against Sweden. While the sporting world reels from the shocking turn of events, the financial implications of this fateful kick are casting a new light on the relationship between celebrity, sports, and money.
Around that same time, a website under the troll-satire brand America's Last Line of Defense, The Dunning-Kruger Times, published an article with a similar premise. That article, which circulated on Facebook and X (formally known as Twitter) in late November, read:
Megan Rapinoe Files for Bankruptcy: 'Nobody Will Hire Me'
Megan Rapinoie ended her career with a series of blunders. After kneeling for the National Anthem and missing an easy goal on an open net at The World Cup, Rapinoe lost her endorsements and a lucrative post-retirement career in broadcasting.
Now, the former star can’t find anyone to hire her. 'I have to go into federal bankruptcy protection,' she told her friend Joanne at last week’s mahjong meet, 'I’m gonna have to sell my house.'
Both The Dunning-Kruger Times and SpaceXMania include disclaimers about their satirical content.
For instance, SpaceXMania's disclaimer page says stories marked as satire, such as the article about Rapinoe, are not meant to be taken seriously and oftentimes not based in reality:
Please note that the article under the category “SATIRE” are satirical in nature and are not meant to be taken seriously. These articles are meant to be humorous and are often entirely made up. We make no claim that the information presented in these articles is true or accurate.
Additionally, an About Us page on Dunning-Kruger-Times reads similarly:
Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site’s pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical. See above if you’re still having an issue with that satire thing.
SpaceXMania has published other articles targeting Rapinoe, both before and after the August publication of the bankruptcy claim. Snopes alerted readers to several of those stories, including a fictional anecdote about her being kicked out of a restaurant owned by Gordon Ramsay (she was not). Other stories claimed she was banned from future Olympics (she was not) and she had lost $10 million after being "eliminated" from the U.S. women's national soccer team in 2023 (that was not true).
For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.