Fans blasted the US women’s soccer team for refusing to sing the American national anthem before a recent match-up against Vietnam. Only three players, Julie Ertz, Alyssa Naeher, and Lindsey Horan, sang the anthem while the others remained silent. It was the first time the Star-Spangled Banner was performed at the Women’s World Cup, and despite the team’s 3-1 victory, fans were outraged at the disrespect shown by the players.
On Twitter, several people posted comments of condemnation, including activist and American patriot Brigitte Gabriel, who wrote, “The US Women’s Soccer Team hates America, you can see it in their facial expressions and body language. They detest the National Anthem and everything it stands for. I couldn’t care less if they lose every game.”
Former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik stated, “No one should be allowed to wear the American flag and represent the US if they don’t believe in it. Most of them don’t even know the words.”
One outspoken critic of American patriotism is former team captain Megan Rapinoe, who said in 2019 that she would “probably never sing the national anthem again.” Rapinoe was the first white and the first female athlete to follow in the footsteps of footballer Colin Kaepernick after he bent to one knee during the Star-Spangled Banner in 2016 in protest at “racial discrimination” in the United States.
One of the women’s soccer team’s stars, Naomi Girma, addressed the controversy during a press conference in New Zealand on July 22. She said players can choose whether they want to sing along, and added, “I think when we’re out there we’re preparing for the game, and that isn’t the focus.”
The American team faces the Netherlands in its next contest but probably with less support from fans than it would like. Australia and New Zealand are hosting the tournament and the USA is currently the favorite to win, followed by England, Spain, and Germany.