In March of 2019, USWNT players celebrated Women’s History Month by wearing the names of inspirational women on their jerseys for a SheBelieves Cup match against England. One of the most prominent names was on Becky Sauerbrunn’s back, three simple letters that mean so much to so many: RBG. A month later, that jersey was being worn by its namesake during her famously tough workouts, cementing her status as a champion for women’s rights.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a heroic figure in ensuring women are treated fairly under U.S. law who later became a more heroic figure as an iconic Supreme Court Justice, died on Friday at 87. USWNT players past and present were quick to honor and celebrate the little woman’s big impact on the lives of every woman in the country. Ginsburg helped make professional women’s soccer possible with her pioneering advocacy throughout her life.
RIP Ruth Bader GinsburgA progressive icon, a legend, and a fighter to the last.
— Becky Sauerbrunn (@beckysauerbrunn) September 18, 2020
Rest in peace, RBG An icon, leader and inspiration. pic.twitter.com/kN82gmwih0— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) September 19, 2020
This is devastating, an incalculable loss. We owe so much to RBG. Rest in Power Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #RIPRBG— Megan Rapinoe (@mPinoe) September 19, 2020
USWNT players have long fought for equality, from the 99ers boycotting a tournament for equal pay to the current squad suing the USSF for equal pay. From Sauerbrunn herself, who received a personal letter from RBG after she had given the Justice her game-worn jersey, to Michelle Akers, arguably the soccer equivalent of RBG when it comes to on-pitch heroics, countless USWNT players weighed in on the icon’s passing. Here are a few, including Megan Rapinoe, Ali Krieger and Alex Morgan, plus some younger WoSo players who haven’t broken into the USWNT ranks.
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The world is different because of her. Quiet and fierce. A lion. A 5-foot giant looking for opportunity to teach in the most challenging arenas. Humble truth teller. Dissident for justice and peace. A brilliant legal mind. An icon. Her life’s work pursuing not just equal rights—but equal dignity for all before the law. One of her famous quotes "I ask no favor for my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks." RIP RBG #equal #dignity #rbg
Tonight we mourn. Tomorrow we fight. Rest In Peace RBG. We thank you.— Abby Wambach (@AbbyWambach) September 19, 2020
Such sad news. An inspirational leader. We must listen to, learn from and apply the lessons that have been set before us. RIP https://t.co/dCmCPbvGFW— Christie Pearce Rampone (@christierampone) September 19, 2020
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My condolences to Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s family. This is awful.— Kai (@hiyakaiya) September 18, 2020
This hurts. RIP to a true icon. https://t.co/wj8NF90K0j— Tziarra King (@tziarra) September 19, 2020
Many more U.S. players posted tributes or retweeted either their teammates’ comments or others on social media, including some men’s players, such as Jozy Altidore. The U.S. lost a giant in women’s rights.