Yesterday, on her 30th birthday, US Women’s national soccer team forward Alex Morgan scored the game-winning goal against England in the World Cup semifinals, her 6th World Cup goal so far.
Understandably, she followed up her epic moment by celebrating, running to the sideline and pretending to sip an imaginary cup of tea.
The moment, of course, went viral, mostly with people (including myself) making American Revolution jokes and memes.
But some people – the kind who hate fun – took issue with Morgan’s unique celebration. Noted sexist and general pig Piers Morgan unleashed a stream of moronic tweets, ranging from criticizing her tea-sipping form to calling it a declaration of war. However, I say people, because it wasn’t just men: Lianne Sanderson, a female footballer, called Morgan’s move “distasteful.”
Male athletes grab their crotches, NFL players do elaborate end-zone dancing, and baseball players flip bats and ambush one another at home plate, but a woman can’t pretend to sip a cup of tea when scoring the winning goal? I’ve watched a lot of sports in my life, and in this age of social media, a male athlete doing something this creative in a big game would be instantly branded as iconic.
But women have been dealing with this malarky since the beginning of time. At the start of the World Cup, the women’s team was also criticized for scoring too many goals in the 13-0 victory against Thailand. People said that the game was harsh and unfair, that the team was too excited about it, all kinds of nonsense. In short: they were mad because these athletes were doing their jobs, and doing them beyond well.
Fun fact: the USWNT scored 13 World Cup goals in that one game. The US Men’s National Team had scored 13 World Cup goals in the last 6,202 days.
Another fun fact: the USWNT brings in more revenue than the USMNT, but the men’s team obviously is paid more and gets higher bonuses for winning, per Yahoo Sports.
But wait, there are more disparities and double-standards! The women’s team also frequently has to play on artificial turf, the men’s team does not. Soccer players have said that playing on artificial turf leads to more injuries that require longer recoveries, and that the surface also changes how the way the ball bounces, which affects the game. Between 2014-2017, the women played 21% of their home matches on artificial turf; the men only played one home match on it. U.S. Soccer also has made effort to install temporary grass for the men’s team eight times over that time frame, but only once for the women’s team.
So let’s get a few things straight: the women bring in more money, but the men get treated better. Women aren’t good enough at sports, but they’re also too good and should stop showing off. Their games are boring, and they celebrate too ostentatiously. Men’s sports are more appealing because the teams are more aggressive, but when women play aggressively, it’s harsh and unfair to their opponents. Makes about as much sense as a snowman in a jacuzzi.
As a woman in sports, I deal with double-standards and sexism every day. Men say things to me that they would never say to a man, ranging from telling me to be more ladylike, to threatening me with sexual violence. It’s as ridiculous as it sounds, and it should not happen. So here’s a simple litmus test: if you wouldn’t say it about a male athlete’s performance, you probably shouldn’t say it about a woman athlete.
Sit back, relax, and let the girls play. Maybe make yourself a cup of tea while you’re at it.
PS: USWNT star Megan Rapinoe’s awesome girlfriend, WNBA star Sue Bird, wrote this incredible piece for The Players’ Tribune about being a women in sports and Donald Trump attacking Rapinoe. It’s great, and you should give it a read and then send it to every contact in your phone.
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Photo: Yahoo Sports