Most Influential

Most Influential, Sports, Equity, Activism: Sue Bird, Megan Rapinoe

Athletes, activists

By Rob Smith February 14, 2024

Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe

This article originally appeared in the January/February 2024 issue of Seattle magazine.

Though Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird both retired last year, chances are you’ll hear from them more often than ever.

Bird, a five-time Olympic gold medalist who led the Seattle Storm to five WNBA titles, and Rapinoe, a two-time FIFA World Cup-winning soccer superstar, first met at the 2016 Summer Olympics. They became engaged in 2020.

The power couple, who live on Queen Anne, have launched a production company, A Touch More, that aims to create scripted and unscripted programming. Its first effort, 30 for 30: Pink Card, featured women in Iran who had to advocate just to watch soccer matches.

Bird, along with soccer legend Alex Morgan, two-time Olympic gold medalist Chloe Kim (snowboarding), and Simone Manuel, an Olympic gold-medalist swimmer, also created TOGETHXR, an e-commerce platform that makes films, videos, and series spotlighting women athletes. It sells T-shirts, hoodies, and sweatshirts.

A statement on the TOGETHXR website notes that women make up 44% of all sports participants, but receive less than 10% of sports media coverage. TOGETHXR made Fast Company’s list of Most Innovative Companies of 2023.

Both organizations are dedicated to causes the couple have embraced for years: equality, diversity, and impact. Rapinoe and Bird have been outspoken advocates for LGBTQ rights and the Black Lives Matter movement. Both have also lobbied for equal pay for women athletes.

Storm co-owner Ginny Gilder, speaking at Bird’s retirement ceremony last summer, says Bird shook off her initial reticence to become an off-court leader and “came to realize the impact she could make in the larger world.”

“Sue had mirrored the best of Seattle’s progressive self and pointed the way toward its further embrace of inclusiveness,” Gilder said. “I would say her ascendance into a public role as a fierce advocate for social change would have defied anyone’s expectations or predictions, and will end up rivaling the impact she has made as the best point guard in league history.”

Yes, their sports careers have ended. Their real work is just getting started.

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