The U.S. women’s soccer team won the World Cup on Sunday, but in the process continued its trend of creating controversy.
Minutes after the 2-0 game ended in Lyon, France, U.S. midfielder Allie Long was holding an American flag when forward Megan Rapinoe urged her to join in on a choreographed celebration for the cameras.
To do so, Long simply dropped Old Glory on the ground.
U.S. player Kelley O’Hara, who was forced to the sidelines after a hard collision left her with concussion-like symptoms, quickly jumped in to pick up the flag.
Twitterers were not happy.
“Drop the flag for some self glory. Perfectly sums them up,” one wrote.
“I think it’s GREAT the woman’s soccer team won but don’t disrespect the American Flag by dragging it on the ground and dropping it just to take a picture. WAY too many damn men and women died to protect what that flag stands for,” another wrote.
“Hi @ALLIE_LONG we all want to celebrate this awesome victory with you but when players disrespect our flag, you make it impossible for the vast majority of the country,” wrote yet another.
One wrote the incident “wasn’t an accident. It was clearly a continuing of the disrespect for our flag and our country.”
The U.S. team has been mired in controversy since the beginning of the World Cup. After scoring the second goal in the World Cup for a 2-1 win over England last Tuesday, player Alex Morgan celebrated by pretending to drink a cup of tea, hoisting a pinkie in the air.
That poor sportsmanship didn’t go over well with a former England player.
“I expected Alex to grab a goal but I’m not that happy with that celebration,” said Lianne Sanderson. “You can celebrate how you want, but for me that is a bit distasteful, and I don’t think she needs to do that.”
“For me, I could be wrong, but it’s based upon playing against England,” said Sanderson, who played for England’s team that came in third in 2015. “We love our tea in England. I’m not a tea drinker, but that’s what we’re connected with, so I think it’s a little bit distasteful.”
The team was also criticized for their opening 13-0 win over Thailand, in which they celebrated joyously after each and every goal. Then Rapinoe, the team’s star player and top scorer, was ripped for saying if the team wins the World Cup, she’s “not going to the f***ing White House.”
Some on Twitter blamed Rapinoe for the flag debacle after their win.
“Rapinoe had a Chance to hold the American Flag but she pushed it away and instead the Red White and a blue got tossed to the ground. Wouldn’t one be proud and happy especially after winning a world Championship to Hold up their Country’s Flag Up in front of the world,” one person wrote.
In the end, O’Hara was praised for rushing in to pick up the flag.
And one Twitterer summed up the situation in many critics’ eyes.
“Typical #allaboutme The name on the front of the jersey means a heck of a lot more than the name on the back.”