Rapinoe, Morgan Defend Goal Celebrations During Thailand Game
USWNT MF Megan Rapinoe believes the controversial goal celebrations during the team's 13-0 rout of Thailand on Tuesday was an "explosion of joy" that was "very genuine for us." Rapinoe and her teammates have been criticized by some for excessively celebrating when the result of the FIFA Women's World Cup game was long decided, but Rapinoe noted the arduous road to get to France and said, "I feel like we were pent up. ... Honestly, I think we needed it. Our lead-up has been heavy -- everything off the field, all the pressure that's on us all the time." Rapinoe likely was referencing the gender discrimination lawsuit filed earlier this year by the USWNT against U.S. Soccer. USWNT F Alex Morgan also defended the celebrations, saying, "We were just all so excited for each other." She added, "We had a pretty dominant performance and, of course, someone's going to find something to talk negatively about" ("FIFA Women's World Cup Today," FS1, 6/13). USA TODAY's Nancy Armour writes since the USWNT arrived in France, they have "closed ranks, and largely closed themselves off." The team is "passing on the news of the day," and many of the players have "deleted their social media apps or are simply going silent on them." This strategy is "insulating them from the vitriol directed their way" after the Thailand game (USA TODAY, 6/14).
DOUBLE STANDARD: In DC, Rachel Allison wrote the backlash from the Thailand result is a "product of the way we treat women's sports differently from men's." Many of the traits "valued in sports are violations of the qualities we expect women to embody." The result is that women athletes "face a double standard: People still react negatively when women express the competitiveness and aggression that are routine in men's sports." Women "cross the line into what's decried as 'poor' sportsmanship more quickly than men -- and they face greater sanction for similar actions" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 6/13). In Philadelphia, Bob Ford writes there were six goals scored after the 60th minute of the U.S.-Thailand game, and this is "partly where the gender divide was most hotly debated." In a men's game at this level, there is a "good chance that cartwheels after a 10th or 11th goal would quickly be followed by a boots-up slide tackle to the cartwheeler's cartwheel" (INQUIRER.com, 6/14).
SAFETY CONCERNS: YAHOO SPORTS' Doug McIntyre wrote the USWNT's bus is "covered in Women's World Cup logos, a FIFA sponsor's word mark, and not insignificantly, prominently emblazoned with an American flag." However, "one would think even FIFA might recognize that publicly advertising which vehicles are transporting the 24 teams competing" around the country -- "let alone leaving them in plain sight so everyone knows where the athletes are sleeping -- might not be the brightest idea." FIFA has been "using team-branded buses to move players between hotels, stadiums, airports and training sessions" since at least the '06 World Cup in Germany. But that "doesn't change the fact that it's a highly irresponsible thing to do." Just over two years ago, a bus carrying Bundesliga club Borussa Dortmund to a UCL game was "rocked by explosions en route to its home," though thankfully there were no fatalities. A bus carrying the Togo team at the '10 African Cup of Nations in Angola "wasn't so lucky." There is even a "sinister history in France for U.S. Soccer," as at the '98 World Cup, the USMNT was "targeted." McIntyre: "Given all these different incidents, one would think FIFA might want to do everything possible to help World Cup participants keep a low profile when traveling in public" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/13).