She made no noise, yet the dainty sip ― pinky out, of course ― was heard around the world.
Alex Morgan of the U.S. women’s national soccer team is defending her tea-sipping goal celebration against England during the FIFA Women’s World Cup semifinal on Tuesday, and she thinks the reaction to it highlights contradictory and sexist standards for men and women in sports.
“I feel there is some double-standard for females in sports to feel like we have to be humble in our successes and have to celebrate, but not too much,” the star forward told reporters Friday.
“You see men celebrating all around the world in big tournaments, you know, grabbing their sacks or whatever it is,” she continued. “And when I look at sipping a cup of tea, I’m a little taken aback, and you have to laugh about it to see all the criticism. So, I’m a little disappointed in that.”
Morgan clarified the celebration was actually inspired by “Game of Thrones” star Sophie Turner, who regularly uses “and that’s the tea” as a social media signoff, then takes a sip.
“It wasn’t a hit to England in any way,” said Morgan.
Regardless of what the international press might say, Morgan’s teammates have her back.
Asked for her response, Megan Rapinoe ― a teammate and fellow avid goal celebrator ― offered a similarly direct defense:
“Wah, wah, wah,” she said. “We’re at the World Cup ― what do you want us to do? This is the biggest stage, the biggest moment. I don’t think anyone truly believes that we disrespect the game or disrespect our opponents.”
“We had the utmost respect for England and every team that we faced and every team that we will face, forever and ever,” she added. “That’s just part of the DNA of the squad. With that said, we work hard, we like to play hard, and we like to have fun and enjoy ourselves.”