USWNT Star Naomi Girma Responds to Criticism Over Team’s Silence During National Anthem at Women’s World Cup

US Women’s National Team star, Naomi Girma, has responded to the criticism over her team’s silence during the national anthem at the Women’s World Cup.

The football star, 23, addressed the backlash during a press conference on Monday, after the majority of her team decided not to sing “The Star Spangled Banner”, while it played at the opening of the World Cup.

At Eden Park in New Zealand on Saturday, only three players were seen mouthing the words the song: Julie Ertz, Alyssa Naeher, and Lindsey Horan. Since then, fans have continued to criticise the American team, with claims that they were a “disgrace” for “refusing” to sing.

When asked about her thoughts on the online controversy at Monday’s press conference, Girma expressed that each player can decide if they want to sing the anthem at the game or not.

“I think when we’re out there we’re preparing for the game, and that isn’t the focus,” she said, referring to the song. “So ultimately, every player has the choice.”

Over the weekend, many people were quick to question the American players for their silence during the anthem, with claims that they weren’t representing their country at the Women’s World Cup.

“Can someone teach @USWNT the words to the ‘Star Spangled Banner?’” one tweeted. “Their silence was deafening.”

“No one should be allowed to wear the American flag, and represent the US if they don’t believe in it. Most of them don’t even know the words. An international embarrassment,” former New York City Police Commissioner, Bernard Bailey Kerik, added.

Meanwhile, other people applauded the players for staying silent, with one tweeting: “Grateful to live in a country where you aren’t forced to sing or have a hand on your heart. Makes it so much more meaningful when you do it. I see the choice not to just as patriotic because of that.”

This isn’t the first time that a football team has opted not to sing their country’s national anthem. In November 2022, Iran’s football team maintained their silence throughout the anthem in their opening World Cup game against England. During the event, some Iranian fans mocked the team, while others held up signs saying, “Woman, Life, Freedom”.

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