Alex Morgan had her tea and sipped it, too – in spite of the critics.
The two-time World Cup champion celebrated the United States' 2-0 win over the Netherlands with a photo in which the forward held up the FIFA trophy, tipped it back and pretended to take a sip. A tea emoji captioned the picture on Twitter.
Morgan, who turned 30 during the tournament, has had her “tea sipping” celebration both criticized and defended since first unveiling it following her goal against England in the semifinals. Critics perceived the celebration as mocking England and its fondness for tea.
“You can celebrate however you want, but that for me is a bit distasteful. … I could be wrong, but it’s based upon playing against England, and we love our tea,” Lianne Sanderson, a former member of England’s national team, said on beIN Sports.
But Morgan has maintained the gesture was just a way to keep things “interesting.”
“My celebration was actually more about ‘that’s the tea,’ which is telling a story,” she told The Guardian. “You know, spreading the news. So, it wasn’t a hit to England in any way.”
Morgan called the resulting backlash a double standard against the women’s team and explained how they’re expected to act “humble” when compared to male athletes.
“You see men celebrating all around the world in big tournaments, grabbing their sacks or whatever it is and when I look at sipping a cup of tea, I’m a little taken aback and kind of … You have to laugh about it, to see all the criticism,” she said.
Morgan also told ESPN that the celebration was a nod to “Game of Thrones” actress Sophie Turner and her social media signoffs which conclude with an actual sip of tea or wine. Turner came to Morgan’s defense despite her home country’s loss.
“Alex Morgan, all those haters are saying this is disrespectful, I’m honored that you thought of me,” Turner said. “And all those people that are hating on you are probably sitting at home — millennials drinking kombucha — I’m really f–king proud of you, Alex Morgan, congratulations on your win, and that’s the motherf---ing tea.”
Morgan didn't let the brouhaha rattle her, receiving the tournament’s silver boot award as the second highest goal scorer, behind teammate Megan Rapinoe, with six goals and three assists.
The win secured the American’s second straight World Cup and fourth title overall.