Megan Rapinoe slams Fox News anchor Alexi Lalas for calling USWNT ‘unlikeable’ after World Cup loss
USWNT's likability questioned by critic after World Cup loss; Megan Rapinoe fires back in defense.
The U.S. Women’s National Team suffered a shocking defeat in the 2023 Women’s World Cup, ending their bid for a third consecutive title.
The USWNT had set a high bar for themselves with their previous victories, but some underlying problems may have contributed to their early exit. However, some critics, like Fox’s Alexi Lalas, chose to focus on a different aspect of the team: their likability. This did not sit well with star player Megan Rapinoe, who fired back at Lalas.
Lalas, a former U.S. Men’s National Team player, posted on his X account that the USWNT was “polarizing” and “unlikeable” to some Americans because of their political views, causes, stances, and behavior. He also said that the team’s brand and power depended on being the best and winning, and that they risked becoming irrelevant if they lost.
“Don’t kill the messenger. This #USWNT is polarizing. Politics, causes, stances, & behavior have made this team unlikeable to a portion of America. This team has built its brand and has derived its power from being the best/winning. If that goes away they risk becoming irrelevant,” he wrote.
The USWNT, known for their advocacy for human rights issues, often faced backlash from conservative groups and individuals in the country. They even clashed with the former President of the United States over their stances. Lalas may be right that they are polarizing, but there may be more to it than that.
Rapinoe, one of the most outspoken athletes in America, responded to Lalas’ comments in an interview with The Atlantic. She called his comments “really disappointing” and accused right-wingers of waiting for an opportunity to attack the USWNT. She also said that right-wingers did not want women to succeed while fighting for things to be better.
She cited Beyonce, Coco Gauff, and Taylor Swift as examples of women who achieved greatness while fighting for things. She also pointed out that Fox News commentators often echoed Lalas’ comments and suggested that he should think about who was agreeing with him.
Lalas’ comments seemed cheap and easy.
The USWNT won the World Cup during Donald Trump’s presidency, and there was plenty of conflict between Rapinoe and Trump then.
It is easy to see the USWNT’s high-profile members taking a stand against human rights violations and, if you disagree with them, bash them for “being distracted” or for prioritizing causes over winning. As if they could not do both.
Carli Lloyd’s critiques of the USWNT drew criticism too, but Lloyd’s comments were more interesting than Lalas’ lazy attempts at political commentary. And it is likely that the USWNT, especially someone like Rapinoe, would respect Lloyd and what she said since she had been a champion herself.