The U.S. World Cup Team’s Disgraceful Behavior

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The FIFA Soccer 2022 World Cup is under way in Qatar. The World Cup is held every four years and is considered one of the premium sporting events on the planet. Soccer is the world’s most popular sport, played by over 250 million people. And an estimated 3.3 billion people will watch one or more of the quadrennial matches between the top national teams in the world on TV this year.

So the national soccer organizations of most nations want to put their best foot forward. The global spotlight is on them as they represent their countries – not just their win/loss record but the character displayed and how they present themselves.

Many American soccer fans were dismayed when they watched their team play Wales in Qatar on Monday, November 21 by the disgraceful way their team represented the United States.

The head coach of the U.S. soccer team, Gregg Berhalter, wore a black T-shirt with the word STATES emblazoned on the front of the shirt. The only other word on the shirt was Nike accompanied by the company’s brand.

Rather than displaying America’s colors, Berhalter not only disdained his country’s colors – the  red, white, and blue  – but also chose to omit the word “United” – as in United States — in an obvious slam at America. A country no longer united but divided in every possible way.

The choice of his T-shirt – almost certainly in collaboration with Nike, which has pushed Black Lives Matter and celebrated Colin Kaepernick – and his disrespect of his home country was in stark contrast with the behavior of the Welsh team and fans, who lustily sang their national anthem with great devotion and pride.

But this was not the only shameful action taken by the U.S. World Cup Soccer organization. The U.S. shield, whose colors are the red, white and blue, was morphed into a rainbow shield –to demonstrate solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community and its aims.

Rather than proudly representing the country which Abraham Lincoln in his speech to Congress one month after signing the Emancipation Declaration in 1862 called “the last best hope of earth,” the U.S. soccer team, represented by its head coach, showed derision and scorn for their nation. Rather than loyalty and love for their country, they displayed disrespect for America. 

Who chose this coach and these players to represent America? Who gave then their marching orders? It was a disgraceful performance that only highlights the polarization in this country today. Can’t we do better?

At this time of Thanksgiving, where is the gratitude for liberty, which is emblematic of America – especially at a time when freedom is either endangered or non-existent in so many countries around the world?

This in-your-face behavior by our national team was shameful. As William J. Bennett Jr. said recently on a TV show, “A lot of virtue signaling, not a lot of virtue.”

In the future, we need to ensure that coaches and players on our national teams represent with pride the United States – which despite all its problems and imperfections – is still a beacon of hope for so many around the world.


Robert H. Bradley is Chairman of Bradley, Foster & Sargent Inc., a $5.5 billion wealth management firm that has offices in Hartford, Connecticut and Wellesley, Massachusetts. Read other articles by him here.


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