Megan Rapinoe celebrates Najee Harris’ hurdle over Notre Dame defender

The US women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe was among those celebrating Alabama’s College Football Playoff victory over Notre Dame on Friday night, after running back Najee Harris appeared to answer her request to “hurdle someone for me”.

Harris leapt spectacularly over a defender during a 53-yard gain in the first quarter of a 31-14 victory for the Crimson Tide, prompting 2019 Ballon d’Or winner Rapinoe to say on Instagram: “You really did it!! It was for me right?!”

Earlier this week, Rapinoe responded to a public declaration of admiration from the 22-year-old by asking him to perform the athletic manoeuvre. Harris has also mimicked Rapinoe’s famous goal celebration, standing with arms outstretched, after scoring touchdowns.

Speaking to reporters before the Notre Dame game, he said he admired Rapinoe, 35 and an outspoken advocate on social justice issues, for “really all the stuff she stands up for”.

“She’s a feminist,” Harris said, “and how the females, how women in the world get treated unfairly and how they get paid different and different stuff than men.”

Rapinoe has been a leading voice in the world champion US women’s team’s attempt to achieve pay equality with a men’s team they have vastly outperformed. Among other causes she has also expressed support for protests against racism and police brutality and defended teams choosing to kneel for the US anthem, a stance which ranged her directly against Donald Trump.

“She stands up for all that,” Harris said. “I like how she does that. And obviously the social injustice that happens, she plays a part in all that.

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“And for her to be a woman and saying all that stuff, and it could be scary for her, for being a woman in what they will say is a man’s world, and her just playing a part, standing up, not listening to all the naysayers out there and really just standing up for what she believes in, it’s motivating. And it’s inspirational.

“Me as a male, I guess you could say, like, maybe not too many males will say they look up to a woman nowadays. But I really look up to her, just for what she does outside of sports. And I guess I had to give her a shoutout and stuff.”

Harris also said he appreciated Rapinoe because “she’s from California, first of all, and she listens to Nipsey Hussle, one of my favourite rappers, too. She gave a shout-out to him.”

Harris and Alabama will next face Ohio State, victors over Clemson on Friday, in the national championship game.


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