Alabama Star Running Back Explains Why He Models Touchdown Celebrations After Megan Rapinoe

by Quentin Blount

Najee Harris, the star running back for the Alabama Crimson Tide, recently told reporters why he looks up to U.S. Women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe.

On Tuesday, the senior running back shared his perspective on why he admires the U.S. women’s national team legend. Both of the star athletes are from California and have a shared love for the rapper Nipsey Hussle, who was killed last year.

“She’s from California, first of all, and she listens to Nipsey. Nipsey Hussle, one of my favorite rappers, too,” Harris said of the late entertainer. “She gave a shoutout to him.”

“Really all the stuff she stands up for,” Harris told reporters. “She’s a feminist and … how women in the world get treated unfairly and how they get paid different and different stuff than men. So she really stands up for all that. I like how she does that.”

Alabama Running Back Looks Up To ‘Inspirational’ Rapinoe

Being from the same state and sharing an affinity for the same rapper are only two of the reasons why Harris looks up to the “inspirational” Rapinoe. Another reason is that the female soccer star took a knee during the national anthem in 2016. In addition, she wrote a piece for The Players’ Tribune where she said it was her “responsibility to ensure that freedom is afforded to everyone in this country.”

Rapinoe also spoke out frequently about racial and social injustice in America leading up to the 2020 presidential election. She also made statements during a few of her high-profile public appearances. Among them, Rapinoe wore a Black Lives Matter T-shirt to open the ESPYs as a co-host. Secondly, the star soccer player appeared on Instagram Live with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to discuss the CARES Act back in March. She has also been a leading voice for the women’s national soccer team to earn equal pay to the men’s national team.

All of these reasons are why Harris, who finished fifth in voting for this year’s Heisman Trophy, looks up to Rapinoe. He even models his touchdown celebration after the soccer star.

Harris and Rapinoe Fight for Social Justice

“Really all the stuff she stands up for,” Harris said. “She’s a feminist and how the females, how women in the world get treated unfairly and how they get paid different and different stuff than men. She stands up for all that. I like how she does that. And obviously, the social injustice that happens, she plays a part in all that.”

Harris took part in a protest back in March. That protest was led by Alabama athletes following the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Wisconsin in August.

“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,” Harris said. “And it’s inspirational. Me, as a male, I guess you could say, like maybe not too many males will like 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.”

The Crimson Tide face off against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at 4 p.m. ET on Friday in the Rose Bowl.