As the U.S. women’s soccer team has won its way through the World Cup in recent weeks, its players have been targeted with criticism for celebrations some observers feel are excessive.
Most recently, Alex Morgan celebrated a goal against England by pretending to sip a cup of tea. Morgan believes that some of the criticism is about the fact that they’re women.
“I feel that there is some sort of double standard for females in sports to feel like we, you know, have to be humble in our successes and have to celebrate but not too much and have to do something, but it always has to be in a limited fashion,” Morgan said, according to The Guardian. “You see men celebrating all around the world in big tournaments, grabbing their sacks or whatever it is and when I look at sipping a cup of tea, I’m a little taken aback and kind of … You have to laugh about it, to see all the criticism.”
Some took offense to Morgan’s tea celebration, not because of gender but because it was perceived as an attack on their culture.
“I expected Alex to grab a goal, but I’m not that happy with that celebration,” former English national team player Lianne Sanderson told BeIN Sports. “You can celebrate however you want, but that for me is a bit distasteful. … I could be wrong, but it’s based upon playing against England, and we love our tea.”
Morgan denies that she meant anything specific to English culture with the celebration.
“My celebration was actually more about ‘that’s the tea,’ which is telling a story,” Morgan said. “You know, spreading the news. So it wasn’t a hit to England in any way.”
In addition to the celebration mini-controversy, the team’s decision about whether or not to attend the White House if it wins the World Cup has become a national story after Megan Rapinoe said she’s “not going to the f***ing White House.” The team is still undecided.
The women’s World Cup final is between the U.S. and the Netherlands on Sunday.