US Soccer Player Rushes To Pick Up Flag After Teammate Drops It During World Cup Celebration
All of the political sturm und drang regarding the U.S. women’s soccer team dissolved into pure patriotism Sunday as the American squad beat the Netherlands in Lyon, France, to secure another Women’s World Cup title.
And, in a moment when that patriotism could have been sabotaged by controversy, one player stepped in to save the day.
As you’re probably aware, much of the coverage of the tournament centered on American star Megan Rapinoe and her dislike of President Donald Trump. In a viral clip that popped up in June but was filmed months earlier, Rapinoe told a reporter, “I am not going to the f–-ing White House” if the team won.
As Time noted, the U.S. star “also stood stoic during the national anthem, declining to put her hand over her heart or sing the song.” Needless to say, controversy was had.
Rapinoe ended up scoring the first goal on a penalty kick Sunday midway through the second half. Rose Lavelle would add a goal in the 69th minute to secure the victory.
During the celebrations, however, things got controversial again in a hurry:
You should be disturbed by this unpatriotic narcissistic behavior. @mPinoe is neither a hero or a role model. I rewound and watched the entire celebration on the field. Rapinoe didn’t want anything to do with an #Americanflag before she stomped it. #repulsive pic.twitter.com/Kevbe7jJYt
— Jonathan T Gilliam (@JGilliam_SEAL) July 7, 2019
The video — which Benghazi hero Jonathan Gilliam posted — shows Rapinoe and teammate Allie Long in front of the American flag, which was placed on the ground by Long.
Fellow player Kelly O’Hara quickly grabbed the flag.
“You should be disturbed by this unpatriotic narcissistic behavior,” Gilliam wrote. “[Megan Rapinoe] is neither a hero or a role model. I rewound and watched the entire celebration on the field. Rapinoe didn’t want anything to do with an #Americanflag before she stomped it. #repulsive”
Others shared similar sentiments:
@ALLIE_LONG I understand the excitement of the moment, but please NEVER disrespect the ?? flag by dropping it on the ground! pic.twitter.com/OdPJqAP6r4
— Poetic Spaniard (@PoeticSpaniard) July 7, 2019
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. cc: @ussoccer @USWNT https://t.co/Uj6sTvZWgQ
— Ryan Petty (@rpetty) July 7, 2019
However, as one person noted, this was likely a mistake in the heat of the moment by Long, who originally dropped the flag:
A lot of people are giving Allie flak for this but…I don’t think she did it on purpose? There was kind of a lot going on…Got a little too excited…Glad Kelley picked it up though!https://t.co/V8wBee6m8m #WorldCup #USWNT ??
— Cortney O’Brien (@obrienc2) July 8, 2019
And, of course, there was praise for O’Hara:
For real though, @kelleymohara
is the HERO of the World Cup! For the record I doubt @ALLIE_LONG had bad intentions, just lacked some situational awareness in the moment…
Kelley O’Hara RESCUES the American flag after teammate drops it during victory dance https://t.co/2t1DFRYIaY
— Nate Boyer (@NateBoyer37) July 8, 2019
Kelly O’Hara is the real #MVP
— Mike Correll (@mcorr15) July 7, 2019
I think in the heat of the moment, Long — in fact, most people — deserve the benefit of the doubt. The situation was exhilarating. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing. And she had a teammate who had the situational awareness to pick up the flag, though she was a bit woozy — as those of you who watch the game could attest.
And Kelly O’Hara had a mild concussion…but instinctively picked up the flag
— Greg (@vu81) July 8, 2019
Props to Kelly O’Hara for turning what could have been an ugly moment into one we could feel good about. Our hats are off to you, ma’am.
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