Sports legend Billie Jean King has defended the U.S. women’s soccer team after they were slammed for wildly celebrating every goal in their 13-0 defeat of Thailand.
Tennis star King insisted that the criticism is ‘ridiculous’, hitting back at trolls saying: ‘I don’t think they would be doing that if they were men.’
King says she’s ‘ticked off’ over the situation and feels that there are double standards regarding the way female and male soccer stars are treated.
The 75-year-old also believes that the women’s team have ‘a lot of responsibility’ on their shoulders so celebrating is a way of releasing the pressure.
She told DailyMailTV: ‘First of all, I think the criticism is ridiculous. I don’t think they would do that if they were men. I think they would be celebrating them making all of those goals, so let’s just put that in perspective.
Billie Jean King tells DailyMailTV that she supports the U.S. women’s soccer team after they were slammed for wildly celebrating every goal in their 13-0 defeat of Thailand
The U.S. women’s soccer team has been slammed for celebrating every goal in their 13-0 defeat of Thailand. Pictured: U.S. player Mallory Pugh celebrates one of 13 goals
Thai players were seen in tears as they embraced each other at the end of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup
King spoke as she and her partner Ilana Kloss were being honored at the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation’s Fifth Anniversary Blue Diamond Gala
The former tennis world number one feels that detractors should stay quiet insisting ‘let them be, they are a great team – they want to celebrate. It is okay.’
‘This USA Women’s Soccer team has got a lot of responsibility. They keep telling them you’ve got to promote the sport, you’ve got to do this, you have to do that. Let them be.’
King, who won 39 Grand Slam titles and represented the USA in the Federation and the Wightman Cups, added: ‘It’s great and I think we just have to stop it. The way we’re socialized, boys and girls are so different.
‘When a girl is really ambitious or really does something well, or goes a bit over the top, we are not supposed to be like that. Stop it. They’re great. They had a dozen goals.
‘Can we all appreciate that please? And I think they have the responsibility of this on their backs a lot. I think the U.S. feels very responsible for the entire world and women’s soccer.
‘So I get a little ticked off.’
The LGTBQ advocate spoke exclusively to DailyMailTV as she and partner Ilana Kloss were honored at the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation’s Fifth Anniversary Blue Diamond Gala.
King also backed the U.S. soccer team’s hopes for female wages to match that of their male counterparts.
At the Blue Diamond Gala event host and Blackish actor Anthony Anderson and American Ninja Warrior host Matt Iseman too shot down haters for bashing the U.S. team’s celebration after they thrashed the minnows in Riems, France, on Tuesday night.
As their opponents left the field in tears, some commentators and soccer fans criticized their celebrations.
Striker Alex Morgan tied the tournament record with five goals and said after the match her team meant no disrespect but simply wanted to position themselves for a run at a second consecutive title.
Alex Morgan (seen left with teammate Rapinoe) said her team meant no disrespect: ‘We knew that every goal could matter in this group stage game… I think it was important for us to celebrate together’. Ainon Phancha (right) of Thailand cries after losing 13-0
Many fans expressed outrage over the US women’s national team’s goal celebrations during the 13-0 win. However, others were quick to defend the American women, saying they would do the same thing in that situation
Other fans came to the defense of the U.S. women’s national soccer team while pointing to issues of sexism
King’s partner Kloss, who was the former number one world doubles partner, said: ‘I think if there were to be a tie, the amount of goals you scored matters. So I think when you play in professional sports, you do your best, and if my opponent kicks my butt, good on them. I’m going to get better and work harder.’
The Gala, which saw world-renowned musician Bruno Mars give a one off concert inside Dodgers Stadium, is a major LA fundraiser for kids.
The Blue Diamond galas have contributed to LADF’s strengthened infrastructure, growth in programs, and increased fundraising with a record $2.2million raised at 2018’s event and plans to raise over $3million in its fifth anniversary celebration.
LADF serves 10,500 youth through its Dodgers RBI sports-based youth development program and recently completed its milestone 50th Dodgers Dreamfield, giving 300,000 kids access to a safe place to enjoy recreational activity in their own neighborhood.
Proceeds from the Blue Diamond Gala will directly impact LADF’s Dodgers RBI and Dodgers Dreamfields programs.
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