Retired U.S. national team captain Abby Wambach was arrested on Saturday night in Oregon and charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants. She reportedly ran a red light near downtown Portland, and when pulled over failed a sobriety test.
Shortly after the news of Wambach’s arrest went public, two prominent members of the U.S. men’s national team — Alejandro Bedoya and Jozy Altidore — took to Twitter to make fun of her.
First, Bedoya replied to a Fox Sports tweet about the arrest by saying that it was probably a foreign-born player’s fault, a reference to a controversial comment Wambach made in December about the men’s national team having too many foreign-born players.
“I also believe that the way that he has changed and brought in a bunch of these foreign guys, it’s just not something I believe in wholeheartedly,” Wambach told Bill Simmons. “I don’t believe in it.”
Then, Altidore responded to Bedoya’s tweet with a jab of his own, mocking not just Wambach, but also Hope Solo, whose husband was arrested and charged with DUI in February 2015 while driving a van that belonged to the women’s team.
Wambach’s arrest came just a few days after five members of the women’s national team (including Solo) filed a wage discrimination suit against the U.S. Soccer Federation, claiming they unfairly earned less pay than the men’s national team.
News of the lawsuit sparked a large discussion about the pay gap between male and female professional athletes, particularly because the women’s national team brings in more revenue than the men and yet the players still earn less money.
There’s clearly already tension between the two teams, and within the U.S. Soccer Federation as a whole. But the snipes made by Bedoya and Altidore about Wambach’s DUI are nothing but counterproductive. Wambach shouldn’t have put herself in the position that led to her DUI, of course, but taking to Twitter to make cheap jokes distracts from the larger issues here.
Wambach took full responsibility for the incident and posted an apology on Facebook.
“Those that know me, know that I have always demanded excellence from myself. I have let myself and others down. I take full responsibility for my actions,” she wrote. “This is all on me. I promise that I will do whatever it takes to ensure that my horrible mistake is never repeated.
“I am so sorry to my family, friends, fans and those that look to follow a better example.”
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