It is not surprising that Abby Wambach is taking some heat for her DUI arrest early Sunday morning. However, it is more than a little eye-opening that some of that heat is emanating from the U.S. men’s national team.
However, Wambach, who retired from the women’s national team last year after a highly decorated career, could be said to have “started” it, with comments in December criticizing USMNT Coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s extensive use of “foreign guys,” i.e., players with dual nationalities. That provides the context for this pointed tweet from midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, who has made many appearances with the USMNT.
That tweet was replied to by USMNT forward Jozy Altidore, who took the opportunity to also take a shot at USWNT goalie Hope Solo. Her husband, former NFL player Jerramy Stevens, was arrested for DUI last year, and he and Solo were reportedly driving around in an official U.S. Soccer team van at the time.
Bedoya and Altidore were born in New Jersey, but both are the children of foreign-born parents and thus could have some particular empathy for dual-nationality USMNT players such as Mix Diskerud, Fabian Johnson and Julian Green. However, they might have been expected to show some deference to a U.S. soccer star, particularly at such a painful time for Wambach.
There is another dynamic at play here, though, and that is the federal complaint of wage discrimination recently filed by several USWNT members, including Solo. While aimed at the U.S. Soccer Federation, the players’ complaint is necessarily based on directly comparing the success of the USWNT on the field and off, including television ratings, to its male counterpart.
Meanwhile, Bedoya wasn’t done with his online comments. After taking his own heat from Twitter users who thought he was way out of line for jabbing at Wambach, the 28-year-old, who plays for French team FC Nantes, fired off a few more posts.
The hashtag, #1N1T, that Bedoya used stands for “One Nation, One Team,” a social-media campaign that U.S. Soccer began as the USMNT prepared to compete for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. It has since been applied to the USWNT, as well, but it doesn’t feel like the two national squads are feeling any particular unity at the moment.