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Megan Rapinoe: Players not outraged by racism are part of the problem

Gab Marcotti doesn't hold back when looking at how Verona handled racist chants directed at Mario Balotelli.
Shaka Hislop slams the "paltry" punishment handed down to Bulgaria for the racist incidents against England.
Gab Marcotti reflects on the fallout from the racist incidents that overshadowed England's win in Bulgaria.

United States national team co-captain Megan Rapinoe has said players who are not incensed by racism are "part of the problem" and has called for punishments that are more "damaging financially" in an effort to reduce the number of incidents.

There has been a number of racist incidents in football throughout Europe since the start of the new campaign.

Brescia striker Mario Balotelli threatened to walk off the pitch after suffering monkey chants last weekend, while an FA Cup qualifying round tie between Haringey Borough and Yeovil Town was abondoned when goalkeeper Douglas Pajetat was subjected to racist abuse last month.

"If there's ever an instance of racism, if every single player on the field is not outraged then to me they're part of the problem," Rapinoe told the BBC.

England's Euro 2020 qualifier against Bulgaria was temporarily halted during the first half following racist chanting.

Bulgarian head coach Krasimir Balakov and president Borislav Mihaylov both resigned after the incident, and UEFA subsequently handed Bulgaria a two-match stadium closure and a €75,000 fine.

When asked about UEFA's punishment, Rapinoe replied: "£65,000 is an absolute joke.

"For me I'm just like, make it super extreme so it's damaging to the team, to the federation, so it's damaging financially."

Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku and Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly have suffered racist chanting from the stands in Italy, while Premier League players Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Tammy Abraham have been abused online this season.

Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling has been vocal in his work to combat racism and Rapinoe has urged other players to make a stand.

She added: "I need all the players on Raheem's team, all the players in the Premier League and in the leagues abroad to make it their problem because it really is everybody's issue."

Rapinoe also reiterated her desire for the USWNT to be paid the same as the men's national team.

She won the Golden Ball award for best player after leading the U.S. to World Cup success in France last summer.

"Don't settle for anything less, go for equal, go for more, don't accept any of these sort of antiquated and BS answers," she said.

"Until we have equal investment and over investment really, because we've been so underserved for so long, we're not going to have any sort of meaningful conversation about compensation and revenues and TV viewership."

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