In a recent Women’s World Cup Group E game against the Netherlands, several players from the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) stirred controversy by choosing to remain silent during the singing of the national anthem. Here’s the full story.
They Were Silent
During the anthem, as many as six players opted to keep their arms at their sides or behind their backs, refraining from singing the national anthem.
This action immediately drew a barrage of criticism on social media, with many branding it as “embarrassing” and “disrespectful.”
They Should Respect the Anthem
Critics argued that the USWNT, as representatives of their nation, had a duty to uphold patriotic standards and demonstrate respect for the anthem.
The Silent Ones
Players like Andi Sullivan, Sophia Smith, Naomi Girma, Emily Fox, Trinity Rodman, and Crystal Dunn continued their silent stance during the anthem.
An Act of Protest
This act of protest initially began in their opening World Cup game against Vietnam and was intended to serve as a stand against social injustice.
The Right to Express Themselves
Defender Girma shrugged off the criticism, emphasizing that players have the right to express themselves and make choices according to their beliefs.
Not Everyone Was Silent
Captain Lindsey Horan, striker Alex Morgan, and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher chose to sing the anthem with their hands over their hearts before the game against the Netherlands.
They Played Well
Despite the controversy surrounding the protest, the USWNT performed well, drawing 1-1 with the Netherlands, with goals from Horan and Manchester City’s Jill Roord.
Megyn Kelly’s Criticism
Prominent journalist Megyn Kelly was among the most vocal critics, expressing her disdain for the players’ actions. She said, “I really do believe their version of what a feminist is, what it means to be an empowered woman, at least as an American woman, means you need to hate your country.”
Many Didn’t Like It
Kelly’s strong words resonated with many who viewed the players’ actions as a betrayal of the nation and its values.
“It’s sad when only a few players show respect during the national anthem. And many question why Americans are rooting for a U.S. loss,’ one user wrote on Twitter.
Don’t Push Your Agenda
Another user added, “The world stage is not the place to try and push your agenda. It is where you display pride and togetherness. Go USA!”
A third user commented, “What this team just did when the Anthem played was disheartening and disgraceful, especially compared to Team Portugal.”
It’s Their Right
In contrast to the widespread criticism, some supporters defended the players’ right to protest in their own way.
Tennis legend Martina Navratilova came to their defense, stating that the players demonstrated their commitment to their country by giving their all on the field and achieving consistent victories.
She wrote, “They are defending it by playing their hardest and winning most of the time. Not by singing. Get a grip and start talking about solutions rather than searching for problems where there aren’t any.”
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Mikolaj Barbanell. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.