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Alex Morgan disappointed by tea celebration criticism, calls out double standard

“I feel that there is some sort of double standard for females in sports to feel like we have to be humble in our successes,” Morgan said.

United States' Alex Morgan listens reporters' questions during a media availability in a hotel in Lyon, France, Friday, July 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

LYON, France — Alex Morgan is still answering questions about her five-day-old tea sip. The goal celebration against England received a lot more attention than she expected. Immediately following the match she explained her thought process behind pretending to take a sip of tea after scoring the game-winner in the 31st minute of the World Cup semifinal, but not everyone understood the meaning behind the phrase “That’s the tea,” and some thought the gesture was a disrespectful dig at England. 

“I mean I think there’s two things,” Morgan said Friday when asked about it again. “One, my celebration was more about, ‘That’s the tea,’ which is telling a story, spreading news. Sophie Turner does it quite often. She’s one of my favorite actresses. So, it wasn’t a hit to England in any way.”

Turner, 23, rose to fame for her portrayal of Sansa Stark on HBO’s Game of Thrones. The English actress sometimes posts short videos on Instagram of her giving a funny, revealing or provocative one-liner then saying, “And that’s the tea,” before she takes a sip of tea or some other beverage.

“Secondly, I feel that there is some sort of double standard for females in sports to feel like we have to be humble in our successes and have to celebrate, but not too much and have to do something, but it always has to be in a limited fashion,” Morgan continued. “You see men celebrating all around the world in big tournaments, ya know, grabbing their sacs or whatever it is, and when I look at sipping a cup of tea, I’m a little taken aback and you have to laugh about all the criticism. So, I’m a little disappointed in that.”

Former Orlando Pride teammate Lianne Sanderson, who is English, was one of the more high-profile critics of the celebration. Sanderson, a World Cup analyst for BeIN Sports, called it distasteful during a live broadcast. After the game, she stood by her comment but also professed respect for the USWNT, support of all their other celebrations during this World Cup and said, “Maybe I’m being a hypocrite now because it’s against England. I don’t know. … I didn’t like it. That doesn’t mean I don’t like Alex. That doesn’t mean I don’t like the U.S. women’s national team.”

Morgan said she has the “utmost respect” for Sanderson, but she was a little disappointed in her reaction.

Expect the U.S. to continue with the creative goal celebrations for Sunday’s final.

“I don’t think we’ll be deterred by a couple of naysayers,” Morgan said with a smile.

That’s if she gets the chance to celebrate. Netherlands midfielder Danielle van de Donk fielded a question about what celebration Morgan might concoct against the Dutch and replied, “I don’t think she’s going to score against us.”

“You have to credit her for the response that she gave there. It’s pretty witty, and I would probably like to say the same thing if I was in her position,” Morgan said. “Obviously, I hope that’s not the case for me or the team. We’ve been preparing for this for what seems like our entire lives, so we’ll see on Sunday.”

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