Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who established the first-in-the-nation Task Force on Women in Sports, has invited the World Cup-winning U.S. women’s national soccer team to visit Michigan.
She tweeted the invite Tuesday on behalf of herself and the task force’s chair, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, who is the former CEO of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE).
“We will celebrate your victory, talk about women in sports and even talk about equity over a cup of tea,” Whitmer said in a Twitter video.
Secretary @JocelynBenson and I are inviting @USWNT to Michigan to celebrate their World Cup victory and discuss expanding opportunities for women in sports in Michigan and across the country. pic.twitter.com/llLWGqnqdm
— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) July 9, 2019
The soccer team’s stardom has prompted a national debate over female players being paid less than their less successful male counterparts. Team captain Megan Rapinoe, who is gay, also has been sharply critical of President Donald Trump and said she would not visit the White House if invited.
“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,” Rapinoe said on CNN.
Rapinoe also said on CNN that she would accept invites from Democratic lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).