Fact Check

Was Megan Rapinoe Released by US Olympic Team After Women's World Cup 'Blunder'?

Facebook commenters shared an online article that promoted the Rapinoe rumor, adding negative comments that called her "the devil" and "a cancer."

Published Aug 7, 2023

Updated Aug 7, 2023
Megan Rapinoe is dejected after the U.S. women's national team was defeated on Aug. 06, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Alex Grimm - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images) (Alex Grimm - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Megan Rapinoe is dejected after the U.S. women's national team was defeated on Aug. 06, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Alex Grimm - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Claim:
U.S. women's national team soccer player Megan Rapinoe was released by the U.S. Olympic Team after a Women's World Cup "blunder."

On Aug. 6, 2023, Facebook users began to share posts that linked to an online article that claimed, "U.S. Olympic Team Releases Megan Rapinoe After World Cup Blunder."

According to the story, U.S. women's national team soccer player Megan Rapinoe was asked by the U.S. Olympic Team to "step aside." This directive purportedly came after she and other players on the team missed penalty kicks in their loss against Sweden on Aug. 6.

Facebook users who either shared the story or saw a post about it made various negative remarks about Rapinoe herself. Examples of some of these comments included "justice served," "she is a cancer," "the devil gets its due," and "about time."

The beginning of the article read as follows:

Megan Rapinoe announced her retirement from professional soccer earlier this year. That means no more World Cups or league play after 2023.

Still, all athletes are eligible to try out for the US Olympic Team, of which Rapinoe has been a member for 17 years. This year, however, the team has asked that she step aside.

"In light of the World Cup blunder and the negative attention for kneeling during the National Anthem, the US Olympic Women's Soccer team has  released Megan Rapinoe," said Olympic Committee Chairman Joe Barron, "Ms. Rapinoe has our deepest respect."

However, despite the article and the users' comments, this was not a genuine news story.

The rumor about Rapinoe originated from an article published by the Dunning-Kruger Times. The website is part of the America's Last Line of Defense network of satirical content.

The Dunning-Kruger Times' "About Us" page describes the website as publishing content that includes "parody, satire, and tomfoolery." The page also makes a reference to Snopes, since we often report on the website's stories after being asked about their authenticity by readers.

The article's mention of a person named "Joe Barron" was a reiteration of a fake name that's been used many times in past articles published by the Dunning-Kruger Times.

Other satirical stories also published by the Dunning-Kruger Times following the Women's World Cup soccer loss included, "Megan Rapinoe Loses $25M Broadcasting Deal After Embarrassing World Cup Loss," "Megan Rapinoe Released From Pro Soccer Team OL Reign: 'It's Time She Moves On,'" and "Nike Ends Partnership With Megan Rapinoe: 'We Paid For a Champion.'" 

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

Sources

"Flagg Eagleton." "US Olympic Team Releases Megan Rapinoe After World Cup Blunder." Dunning-Kruger Times, 6 Aug. 2023, https://dunning-kruger-times.com/us-olympic-team-releases-megan-rapinoe-after-world-cup-blunder/.

FOX Soccer. "USWNT vs. Sweden: WILD Penalty Shootout in the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup." YouTube, 6 Aug. 2023, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlYmIGcNgvQ.

Peterson, Anne M. "Megan Rapinoe Leaves Her Final Women's World Cup with Pride after a Long Career." The Associated Press, 6 Aug. 2023, https://apnews.com/article/womens-world-cup-united-states-sweden-megan-rapinoe-3109c23f009a12d6a46a07b41ccf7d83.

---. "The Future Is Uncertain for the United States after Crashing out of the Women's World Cup." The Associated Press, 6 Aug. 2023, https://apnews.com/article/womens-world-cup-united-states-andonovski-rapinoe-9e2dfd08bfa6a79c098203c9bcc7f30c.

Updates

Aug. 7, 2023: This report was updated to add other satirical stories that also were published by the Dunning-Kruger Times.

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.