ESPNW has a profile feature on WNBA star Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm, in which she publicly comes out as gay (the piece says that friends and family have known for a long time). One of the revelations contained in the piece is that Bird is currently dating U.S.W.N.T. player Megan Rapinoe, who also plays for the Seattle Reign.
The two have been dating for less than a year, and it appears that the relationship began last year while both were in Rio playing for their respective national teams.
Rapinoe is five years younger than Bird, and despite playing professional soccer in Seattle since about 2012, she had met Bird only briefly before last year. With the U.S. women’s soccer team’s earlier-than-expected exit at the 2016 Olympics, Rapinoe had time to see other events, including women’s basketball. At some point, she and Bird began a conversation — about pretty much everything — that is still going on.
“We have a lot in common and just sort of clicked,” Rapinoe says. “I joke she is my No. 1 go-to-for-advice person. She’s just so level-headed.”
Rapinoe has been very public with her sexuality, as well as with her political stances, in recent years. Rapinoe joined Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the national anthem last Fall, and wrote a piece about it in the Player’s Tribune. U.S. Soccer instituted a rule that all players had to stand for the national anthem in response.
Bird, meanwhile, is more reserved in her commentary and putting herself out in public.
Bird knows people might assume that her relationship with Rapinoe, who has long been involved in LGBTQ activism, is what prompted her to speak out now. But that’s not the case.
“This actually has nothing to do with Megan, in terms of how free I feel to talk about it,” Bird says. “This has been something I’ve been on the verge of doing for a long time.”
Bird and Rapinoe are two of the most prominent women in American team sports, and share a great deal in common, dealing with performing at the highest levels.