Did U.S. professional soccer player Megan Rapinoe lose a "post-retirement broadcasting" position with ESPN and was she also dropped as a Nike partner following backlash after a missed penalty kick during the 2023 World Cup? No, that's not true: The claims are just two of many about Rapinoe that have been published by a satirical website.
The claim about Rapinoe losing an ESPN position originated in an article published by The Dunning-Kruger Times on August 7, 2023, titled "ESPN Cancels Rapinoe's Post-Retirement Broadcasting Career: 'She's Too Toxic'" (archived here). The article opened:
ESPN had a nice cushy broadcasting job ready and waiting for Megan Rapinoe. All she had to do was make it to her career's end without incident. She failed miserably, and now she has nothing planned for the next...several decades.
Users on social media saw this title, description and thumbnail:
The network isn't interested in a toxic brand.
Similarly, the claim about Nike ending its partnership with Rapinoe was published by The Dunning-Kruger Times in an article titled "Nike Ends Partnership With Megan Rapinoe: 'We Paid For a Champion.'"
However, while Rapinoe is retiring, both of the articles are largely based on inaccurate information. Just like the claims debunked in a previously published Lead Stories fact check that said that Rapinoe was released from both her professional soccer team OL Reign and the U.S. women's Olympic soccer team and that she lost a $25 million broadcasting deal, these claims are satirical in nature.
The Dunning-Kruger Times
Dunning-Kruger-Times.com is a subsidiary of the 'America's Last Line of Defense' network of parody, satire, and tomfoolery, or as Snopes called it before they lost their war on satire: Junk News
Before you complain and decide satire is synonymous with 'comedy':
sat·ire ˈsaˌtī(ə)r noun: The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, OR ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.
Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site's pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical. See above if you're still having an issue with that satire thing.
The website is named after the Dunning-Kruger effect, a term from a psychology experiment that describes the phenomenon of being ignorant of one's own ignorance (that experiment has been disputed by a math professor).
It is run by self-described liberal troll Christopher Blair.
In the article about Rapinoe and ESPN, a person named "Joe Barron" is cited as Rapinoe's lawyer. In the article about Rapinoe and Nike, "Joe Barron" is suggested to be Nike's marketing director. However, the real Joe Barron was a friend of Blair's who passed away. His name is frequently used in Blair's satirical stories as an homage.
ESPN and Nike
Lead Stories reached out to ESPN and Nike for comment on the claims and will update this story with any responses.
Other Lead Stories fact checks
Lead Stories regularly debunks claims that originate on Blair's America's Last Line of Defense network of websites. Those fact checks can be found here.