Ethics Dunces: The US Women’s Soccer Team

Short version: The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team behaved like unsportsman-like assholes while trouncing the Thailand team 13-0 in Riems, France.

A 13-0 score in international soccer is approximately like a 25 to nothing score in professional baseball.

Long version: The U.S. women obviously were far superior to the Thai team, but still celebrated every goal like it was the accomplishment of the century.  Complaints about running up the score were, as they always are (except in school sports) absurd: as several commentators said, a pro team should always play as hard as possible and as well as possible, whatever the score and whoever the competition. To do otherwise insults the opposition, the spectators and the sport itself.

Celebrating excessively after every goal, however is obnoxious, violates the Golden Rule , and amounts to taunting once the game’s outcome is no longer in doubt. Just to put a bright, ugly cap on the bad conduct, team captain Megan Rapinoe, who had previously “took a knee” during the National Anthem while representing the United States in World Cup events, stood silent during the anthem this time, after telling the media .that doing so was a “fuck you” to President Trump.



But let’s get back to the team’s disgrace. TSN analyst Kaylyn Kyle got it right, saying on the air, “They’re the No. 1 team in the world and for me, I’m disgusted, honestly.  … For me it’s disrespectful, it’s disgraceful,” For this accurate ethics assessment, she got death threats: there are lots of assholes out there. Another former player and analyst, Clare Rustad, also had it right, telling her listeners,  ‘”I just think they could have won with some humility and grace, and they just couldn’t manage to do that.Celebrating goals later in the game like this is just completely unnecessary. What is this?’

The defenders of the taunting were universally ethically obtuse. But first, here’s the dumbest, most pandering, and embarrassing:

This so stupid that I won’t insult MY readers by explaining why.

This tweet, by former star Abby Wambach, apparently expressed an agreed upon rationalization, the “if you dream about it, then its OK to act like a total jerk” excuse:

Side note: Yes, men behaving like that would be equally criticized if not more. Abby couldn’t resist the cheap gender bias card, I suspect because she knows she’s playing a losing hand.

Fox Sports’ Aly Wagner got the same talking point memo, saying, “It’s a World Cup. You score, you celebrate. This is a dream for these players.” And that dream justifies being a jerk? Gee, I thought women could control themselves when etiquette, proportion, respect  and compassion require it. Guess not, at least, not American soccer playing women. They dream, you see.

In closing, it’s only fair to Senator Gillibrand to show that her’s was not the absolute worst opinion on this fiasco. That honor would go to Stephen Colbert fave, feminist comic Samantha Ruddy, who tweeted,

Signature significance for a moron.  That’s a lot of stupidity in one tweet, don’t you think? She evokes the repeatedly debunked “77 cents of every dollar” fake stat, which was baloney when Bernie Shaw quoted it in the debate between George H.W. Bush and Dukakis in 1988. And nobody complained that the team was too good to celebrate goals—that wasn’t the issue at all. Finally,  the reason the women are paid less than the men is that they aren’t nearly as good. If there’s any doubt, maybe the U.S. men’s soccer team should slaughter the women’s team and celebrate every goal like it had clinched the World Cup.

I do think that Samantha Ruddy should consider running for President….


Facts: Daily Mail

20 thoughts on “Ethics Dunces: The US Women’s Soccer Team

  1. Free speech, unfortunately, gives you the right to make yourself look like a mean, unsportsmanlike jerk. But death threats are not supporting the team, it shows you have a screw loose, Celebrating a triumph usually involves a cooler of Gatorade or loads of bubbly, NOT during the game where you’re gonna be sticky and attract bees. And that sleazy thing about celebrating a once in a lifetime goal would be less rubbing the others’ nose in it if there was 25 players each making their one goal. That very pathetically weak excuse does not hold for a 3rd, 4th or 5th goal.

  2. Aren’t people the worst? When my kids are on the right side of a lopsided score, I stop cheering as if they’re two outs in the ninth with a tie score and a runner on third. I may even root for the other team. A lot of people don’t though. They’re called assholes.

    Also, the pay gap is related to money being generated which is closely related to quality but not always coextensive. If these women could fill stadiums and arrange lucrative tv deals they would be paid the same. The real housewives of wherever would certainly make more money than the real house husbands of wherever but that’s a function of demand, not gender. Professional wrestling is an inferior sport to Olympic style wrestling so why don’t Olympic wrestlers make as much as hulk hogan did? These people seem to have a limited grasp of the economy.

  3. I’ve followed Soccer for years. I’ve never seen a goal not celebrated. It would be disgraceful to show mercy. Man U lost the championship by goal differential one year, Vowed never to let that happen again.

    • Tell me the last time any team in high level soccer lost a game after being up 5 goals, much less 12. Your argument comes down to “we’ve always done it this way.” Even if true, that’s no excuse, and the nature of the slaughter was a unique circumstance anyway. You also confound the issues of running up thne sore and celebrating goals that run up the score. The first is fine. The second is lousy sportsmanship, and obviously so.

  4. Hehe, in college, if we started to really slaughter the adversary in football we would yell things like “send in the band!” or “warm up the bus!” However, it was not deemed ok to play Taps on the trumpet as the clock wound down and left the other side with no hope. Unfortunately, due to scoring polls, we really couldn’t back off on the scoring, though we DID put the 2nd and 3rd stringers in to get them some experience, since they’d be next year’s starters.

  5. P.S. Megan Rapinoe is acting like an idiot, but the best we can do is ignore this attention-seeking idiocy – if the mainstream media would only let us. BUT, they can’t let an opportunity for a cheap shot at the president pass.

    • A nasty, mean-spirited and stereotypical scowling feminist with a purple let-me-speak-to-your-manager haircut disrespects America and hates Trump? Odds are he’ll tweet about it to call more attention to it.

  6. In an elimination event to crown a champion why would anyone match the US team against the far weaker Thai team? The lesser teams should play each other and the stronger teams should play each other until they best two meet for the World Cup.

    As for the equal pay claim, when the women’s team plays the men’s team both should be entitled to the pay allocated to the winner or the loser of the contest based on the outcome.

    • One of the problems with the competition is that Thailand is one of the “stronger teams.” They go through years of qualifying matches around the world to eliminate all but 24 national teams, who then go on to play this tournament.

      The remaining 24 are also a very top heavy tournament. Only 5 clubs – the US, France, England, Germany, and the Netherlands – currently have betting odds better than 24 to 1 to win the tournament. The other 19 include 6 clubs who are set at 1000-1 or worse, finishing with Thailand who are currently 8000-1.

    • In an elimination event, why would anyone match Virginia against the far weaker Gardner-Webb basketball team? The NCAA tournament, even in its first two rounds is a single elimination tournament — lose and you’re out. Soccer has its pool play for the first round where you play a round robin against the other teams in your pool, and the top two (or so) advance.

      Every tournament I can think of tries to pit the strongest teams against the weakest ones at the beginning, until eventually the four best teams make it through to the semi-finals. The reward for being the best prior to the tournament is to get to play a lesser team in the first round or two and to have an easier route to advance. One can perhaps argue the format, but that’s pretty much universal in some fashion.

  7. My comment here is that celebration in sports has become a rote action that is taught from childhood. Let me explain.

    Back in my youth, celebration beyond a pat on the back and a “Way to go!” was considered gauche and unsportsmanlike in every team sport I played. Starting in the mid 1980’s, celebrations were being encouraged in the youth leagues as a means of making everyone feel good about themselves. That trend eventually wound up in the high amateur and professional leagues.

    In the late 1980’s, celebration became more common and excessive, and so did fighting in sports at every level. People took exception to excessive celebration with their fists. It eventually got so bad in the NBA that it actually threatened the survival of the league itself.

    So in the mid 1990’s through early aughts, leagues at all levels cracked down on fighting, but then celebrations really got out of hand, so they started cracking down on those as well. At this point, professional soccer had yet to impinge upon the consciousness of the average American.

    Because of the relatively rare nature of goals in soccer, the professional and amateur leagues have always encouraged post-goal celebrations. As soccer grew in popularity from the youth leagues up in America, they saw the greats such as Pele and others celebrating vigorously after goals, and sought to emulate their heroes.

    Now, what we have is reflexive celebration. If you don’t celebrate a goal, it is somehow wrong. I have never seen a goal in soccer, no matter the score, that didn’t have the goal scorer down on his knees or running around wildly in celebration.

    So while this affair is undoubtedly an ethics faux-pas, this is the nature of soccer, and literally a tradition that few are willing to break, that goes back to before the game enjoyed any popularity at all in the USA. You and I, and hopefully a good number of Americans may blanch at the display of poor sportsmanship, but it would be repeated against us or any other team I have seen. It is as near a universal practice as exists anywhere in sport, and it’s somehow fitting that the US team manages to make people notice how casually unethical it is.

    The “everybody does it” rationalization strikes again, I guess.

    As to the politics, I have nothing to offer. You can’t fix stupid, as they say.

    • Well I just finished watching game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals last night. Yes, there was a celebration after each goal that St. Louis scored, but after 30 seconds or so they went to the next face off and continued playing. They just don’t wildly skate around the ice after each goal — even though, this literally was a once in a lifetime event for the Blues.

      Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that the outcome was not preordained, that Boston was a serious competitor. You know, just like the US women who won the last world cup going away and exhibited such fine sportsmanship in doing so. Oh wait…..

  8. ”maybe the U.S. men’s soccer team should slaughter the women’s team and celebrate every goal like it had clinched the World Cup.”

    The indignant “How Dare They” cacophony would be deafening.

  9. “Megan Rapinoe, who has previously “took a knee” during the National Anthem while representing the United States in World Cup events, stood silent during the anthem this time, after telling the media .that doing so was a “fuck you” to President Trump.”

    There are so many examples of things like this… Have we done away with the narrative that all of these kinds of protests are about solidarity yet?

    That said… I have no idea why women in soccer make so much less than men. I’m not even being sarcastic. I mean, I get it: The views aren’t there, the ad dollars aren’t there, the math works out, but have you ever watched a men’s/women’s soccer game side by side? How many compilations are there of men who have taken absolutely ridiculous dives when someone from the opposing team flicked their ear? Again… I’m not being sarcastic: Google that, it happens. Someone flicks their ear, and they fall screaming to the turf like the guy just ripped half their face off. Meanwhile, the women’s events are so violent I often think I’m watching rugby. It’s more entertaining, it’s more fast paced, it’s more… Why anyone would choose to watch men’s soccer when a women’s event is on genuinely baffles me. It’s like two different sports. I don’t know if the men’s team would be able to uncurl themselves from the fetal position long enough to “slaughter” them, let alone if they could actually do it. I do think there’s some kind of gendered bias going on here… I just don’t think the teams can do much about sponsors not spending ad dollars there.

    • I guess “act as if you’ve been here before” is not taught these days. I also guess Title IX means women have to act like as big jerks as men do. I also think gender differentiated sport is eventually going to be a thing of the past. If gender is fluid and in one’s head, boys and girls sport makes no sense whatsoever.

        • A good enough high school boys team could probably beat the USA women’s team. Soccer players flop artfully because it helps them win (it’s an NBA problem too.) It’s not that the guys aren’t tough. If flopping wasn’t rewarded, it wouldn’t happen.

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