New York, NY – The New York Police Department’s (NYPD) Hate Crime Task Force is investigating vandalism to posters of World Cup champion Megan Rapinoe that appeared in a city subway station.
The vandalism at the West 42nd Street Subway station was reported to police at about 7:15 a.m. on July 8, two days before the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) were due to be celebrated with a ticker tape parade in Manhattan, CNN reported.
Rapinoe was team captain of the U.S. women’s soccer team that recently won the World Cup in France.
Eight posters of Rapinoe wearing her USWMT uniform were defaced with derogatory words and “homophobic comments,” the NYPD told CNN.
Rapinoe became a polarizing figure when she announced, before winning the World Cup, that if the United States won and she was invited to the White House, she wouldn’t go.
She also infuriated millions of Americans when she chose to take a knee in Colin Kaepernick-style during the U.S. National Anthem at the World Cup playoffs and final game on international playing fields.
Before this year’s World Cup game between the United States and Thailand, Rapinoe also refused to sing the National Anthem along with her teammates and would not put her hand on her heart, according to The Independent.
Rapinoe announced that she would “probably never sing the national anthem again.”
The soccer star has been participating in anti-police protests for several years.
In September of 2016, while playing for a professional soccer team in the United States, she was the first non-black professional athlete to kneel during the National Anthem in support of Kaepernick’s protest, according to USA Today.
“Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties,” Rapinoe told American Soccer Now at the time.
Rapinoe told Yahoo Sports that her protests were about “over-policing” and “racial profiling” by the police.
The transit authority moved quickly to clean up the graffiti on the posters, The Hill reported.
"Hate has no place in the transit system and we work hard to make the subway a welcoming, safe environment for everyone," Metropolitan Transportation Authority Deputy Communications Director Shams Tarek said in a statement. “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."
Tarek said that the posters had been cleaned and restored, and that they would be replaced some with new posters if it was necessary, The Hill reported.