Patterico's Pontifications


No, Not All the Players Are Onboard with the Woke USWNT

Filed under: General — JVW @ 6:45 am

[guest post by JVW]

Somehow I guess I have turned into the regular correspondent for all things concerning the United States Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT). I have been reporting on their lawsuit against United States Soccer, which was settled late last month. The USWNT has been quite successful on the field over the past couple of generations, winning four World Cup titles (more than any other country) including the last two. At the same time, the team metaphorically did a Triple Lindy off of the ten-meter platform straight into the fetid pool of trendy social justice matters, moving beyond their long-standing equal pay/equal treatment with the men’s team argument to becoming advocates for Black Lives Matter, assorted LGBTQ issues, issues of “equity” and “representation,” and whatever woke nonsense was percolating in left-wing political circles at any given time. This made them the darling of progressive sportswriters in national media, who showered the team — especially the leading activist, forward Megan Rapinoe — with plenty of adulation.

But it turns out that not only were there members of the team who were not on board with the various causes so quickly adopted by the USWNT, there actually were team members who felt bullied into going along with ostentatious displays of virtue signaling with which they did not agree. Star forward Carli Lloyd, the heroine of the 2015 World Cup Final who retired from soccer at the end of last year, appeared on the brand-new podcast of retired USWNT goalie Hope Solo and acknowledged that she did not have a good experience playing during the period which roughly coincided with the team’s turn to vigorous activism:

“Within our squad, the culture has changed. It was really tough and challenging to play these last several years. To be quite honest, I hated it,” Lloyd said. “It wasn’t fun going in, and it was only for love of the game for me. I wanted to win, and I wanted to help the team, but the culture within the team was the worst I had ever seen it.”

When the majority of team members (at the urging of Rapinoe) began kneeling during the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner” in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick five years ago, Lloyd was one of the team members who remained standing, perhaps the only who who consistently did so. The team would eventually drop the kneeling during the anthem and would instead silently take a knee just before the commencement of play, yet Lloyd eschewed that grandstanding — er, grandkneeling — as well. On a podcast with former U.S. Men’s National Team player Alexi Lalas on Wednesday, Lloyd reiterated to the host what she had said on Solo’s podcast days earlier:

LLOYD: I know that experience matters and I know that veteran leadership matters. But what we had in the last several years was not a good culture. And the mentality changed, and it became toxic, and it wasn’t good. [. . .]

LALAS: Can you put your finger on what made it toxic?

LLOYD: A lot of different things. You know, I think what made this team so successful throughout the years is we stepped in-between the lines and we fought for one another. [. . .] And it didn’t matter what you looked like, it didn’t matter what you stood for [. . .] and in 2015, winning a World Cup obviously put us on a really, really big stage. And endorsements starting coming and the spotlight started coming, and I just saw a shift in people’s mindsets. It became more about “what can I do to build my brand off the field.” [. . .] And I don’t think that the respect of wearing the crest and playing for your country and doing everything in your power to fight for your teammates was there. And you saw that on the field.

Her words were couched in just enough soft ambiguity, but given her pegging the post-2015 World Cup as the beginning of the decline in team chemistry and given that this was the very moment when Megan Rapinoe emerged as the undisputed leader of the social justice squad, it’s hard not to see this as a direct indictment of the player who became the media’s embodiment of the woke and hip athlete. This has to be absolutely infuriating to all those sportswriters who spilled gallons and gallons of ink assuring all of us that the team spoke with one voice, one mind. Turns out that the single unwelcome aspect of diversity was present all along: the diversity of thought and opinion. It’s a reminder of how insular the world of journalism has become, and how intent they are on forcing their preferred narrative upon us.


12 Responses to “No, Not All the Players Are Onboard with the Woke USWNT”

  1. Is Hope Solo the lady who redefined “Ugly American” at the Brazil Olympics?

    nk (1d9030)

  2. maybe someone can make the case for why we need women’s sports anymore

    JF (e1156d)

  3. Yawn. The women still have a better record than the men where it counts, on the pitch.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  4. maybe someone can make the case for why we need women’s sports soccer anymore


    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  5. Is Hope Solo the lady who redefined “Ugly American” at the Brazil Olympics?

    She’s a real piece of work, and if the allegations of a toxic culture had come only from her I probably would take them much less seriously. But as far as I can tell, Carli Lloyd has always been a stand-up teammate and was never a headache for the USWNT.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  6. Oh, I believe it. That there would be a toxic culture. (And not for the same reason that LDS finally shook off polygamy only after the men had given up any hope that they would be killed by Indians, federal troops, or Missourians.) These ladies are competitive athletes who worked hard to get where they are and excel at it. The woke lowest common denominator ethos would, sooner or later, rub them the wrong way.

    nk (1d9030)

  7. I actually like the women’s soccer game as it is slower, which reduces the number of plays with contact (with the men’s game tending to have more flopping and theatrics which wears on this viewer). The women’s shots can be kind of weak at times, but the buildup is no less interesting as the men. The athleticism to run upwards of 7 miles during a game, including sprints, is always impressive, especially at the elite level.

    Now the activism just gets old. We’re far enough along with the lesbian and gay thing that I’m not sure the point of celebrating it by putting it in someone’s face, especially in the context of sport where one’s sexuality or politics really don’t (shouldn’t?) matter. I get not wanting open bigotry, but it often goes beyond that goal….to insisting on a politically correct uniformity. It’s just tedious…play ball.

    AJ_Liberty (ec7f74)

  8. There are twenty two people on the current USNWT. If you go back to Hope Solo’s day, there are probably more than fifty. They are probably not unanimous on lots of things.

    Fred (d257ee)

  9. What troubles me about this story is that people assume that the USWNT was a bunch of happy campers signing the same tune. Why? Because the media liked their politics? Lots of people liked their stance on equal pay?

    C’mon. That group is like every other group. There is nothing unanimous about them, especially behind closed doors.

    Hoi Polloi (093fb9)

  10. C’mon. That group is like every other group. There is nothing unanimous about them, especially behind closed doors.

    Exactly. And every time an NBA franchise outfits its players in “Black Lives Matter” t-shirts, or every time an NFL team issues a lachrymose statement on a controversial police shooting of a career criminal, they and we should all understand that there are players and employees of that team who do not subscribe to the trendy opinion of the day but are likely being forced to knuckle under for risk of their jobs. Carli Lloyd was a star player who was secure in her job and didn’t have to engage in the virtue signaling that some of her teammates were apparently forcing on younger and less secure players.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  11. Hoi Polloi

    Depends on the group.
    Sometimes toxic personalities have outsized effect, other times they are balanced by charismatic healthy leaders.
    Some groups are divided evenly and are not polarized, others are divided evenly, yet polarized.
    Team chemistry, locker room chemistry is a real thing.

    I lit a fuse on some Persian players who had formed their own all Persian team in our league. That used to be very common. One of their forwards was very selfish (the best usually are to a degree) and forced himself into a double team of defenders and goal keeper and then just dribbled it out of bounds like an idiot with his teamate standing screaming wide open. Nope. the selfish guy looked over and still went for his own glory.
    So I jog over to the wide open guy and so “wow. You were wiiiiiiiide open. thats one of the most selfish things I’ve ever seen… Guy agrees and upgrades my remarks to that bleeping bleep and a bunch of what I assumed were bad Persian words. Long story short, they started really bickering and their bickering led to pushing shoving slapping (handbags) and red cards. (Its really hard to get a red card for fighting with your own team mate)

    Great. Now we are playing 11 on 9 and their players left on the pitch are still arguing with each other, the ref.

    steveg (e81d76)

  12. I watched a video where Carly Lloyd goes to an NFL practice and hits a 40+ yard field goal. She is “competing” against a D lineman not a kicker.
    When the reporter asks if Lloyd was thinking about kicking in the NFL, she demurred.
    One thing that the reporter was not thinking of was the extremely quick edge rush to hurry the kick, and the other was the middle push with big tall men and hitting the ball not just long but high.
    Lloyd handled it all humbly and diplomatically.

    Rapinoe is a good female player. Given time and space, she can drop a pass on a dime A good boys team would not have a problem with her because they’d have an easy time denying her time and space. She is not exceptionally fast or quick, she’s not big and strong. The boys defender matched with her would probably be bigger, faster, quicker, longer and knows how to use all that to close down space. The women Rapinoe would be passing to would be matched up against similar boys and if Rapinoe did get accurate passes off, the boys inside would handle it, but if not there is the boys goalkeeper. Probably much more athletic than his female counter part…. she can jump and touch the crossbar, he might be able to dunk a basketball (there are reasons why the womens volleyball net is 7’4″ and the mens is 7’11” and the women are not asking to play at 7-11″)
    The boy goal keeper will be quicker, stronger.

    Their are reasons the USWNT asks boys teams to scrimmage and there are reasons why they ask the boys team to play 10 on the USWNT’s 11 with the boys in a formation without a center defender in the second half

    steveg (e81d76)

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