Hateful, misogynistic messages were scrawled across more than a half-dozen posters of Women's World Cup champion Megan Rapinoe in New York City's Bryant Park subway station, according to reports.
The messages, written across Nike posters that featured the team co-captain, included offensive language such as "sh-male," and said "screw this h-."
Now, the MTA is working with the NYPD to investigate the possible hate crime. Rapinoe, whose goal helped put the U.S. team ahead of the Netherlands in the Women's World Cup on Sunday, is openly gay and an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ and women's rights.
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“Hate has no place in the transit system and we work hard to make the subway a welcoming, safe environment for everyone,” MTA spokesman Shams Tarek told the New York Post. “We referred this to NYPD, which responded to investigate, our maintenance teams got the posters cleaned and we will have them replaced with new ones if necessary.”
The vandalism came as the U.S. soccer team celebrated its 2019 World Cup victory with a ticker-tape parade in Lower Manhattan.
Rapinoe is spearheading the USWNT’s lawsuit against U.S. Soccer demanding equal pay. At Wednesday's NYC celebration, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law an equal pay bill passed by the New York State Legislature this year.
"We stand with them in solidarity. Equal pay for equal work," Cuomo said at the event. The governor also tweeted, "The women's soccer team plays the same game that the men’s soccer players play — only better. If anything, the men should get paid less."
Recently on CNN, Rapinoe, who said she would not visit the White House, delivered a direct message to President Donald Trump, criticizing him for his policies on LGBTQ matters. The soccer star stared directly into the camera lens and said: "Your message is excluding people. You’re excluding me, you’re excluding people that look like me, you’re excluding people of color, you’re excluding Americans that maybe support you."