Abby Wambach did something very stupid on Saturday night — she was charged with DUI. It's a dangerous choice far too many people make, but especially bad for a role model and a player so many people looked up to during her career. She knew it.
Wambach didn't deflect or shy away from her mistake. She owned it.
"Last night I was arrested for DUI in Portland after dinner at a friend's house. 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. 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."
Instead of letting Wambach's mistake be her own, some players on the USMNT met the news with child-like glee. Jozy Altidore and Alejandro Bedoya took particular joy in the news.
@AleBedoya17 should've used one of the team vans. Lol— Jozy Altidore (@JozyAltidore) April 3, 2016
Altidore didn't say anything following his tweet, but got a strong reaction from fans on Twitter who were disappointed he would make light of Wambach's situation. Bedoya, on the other hand, wouldn't stop going in — doubling down on his comments.
Boo fuckin hoo. It's a joke on Twitter. A DUI isn't! Might recall my best friend Charlie Davies almost died from one https://t.co/6AAFsDa2Ik— Alejandro Bedoya (@AleBedoya17) April 3, 2016
So, what I'm learning now via Twitter is that some people value athletic achievement more than human life.... Got that.— Alejandro Bedoya (@AleBedoya17) April 3, 2016
And if you can dish out criticism, like make xenophobic comments, than I'm sure you can take criticism also when you mess up.— Alejandro Bedoya (@AleBedoya17) April 3, 2016
Bedoya got a justifiable amount of flack for making light of Wambach's DUI. He then pivoted to make himself appear like he was making a stand against DUI all along. At best it's flawed logic, at worst it's a devious rhetorical technique. The issue was never that Bedoya condemned driving under the influence, it's that he was clearly enjoying his schadenfreude that Wambach was charged with DUI. The reason for this is simple: He was angry about Wambach's comments directed at Jurgen Klinsmann having an influx of foreign players on the USMNT vs. picking American-born players.
That is the heart not only of Bedoya's initial joke, but his subsequent reaction and when he got called out for it he set up straw man argument. His fundamental position is that if you can make comments about how the USMNT is formed then you can also accept comments if and when you make a mistake in your personal life. That makes no sense.
What compounds this issue is how much criticism members of the USMNT get in general on social media and throughout the country. The USA loves winners, and while talented, it's unfair to stack the USMNT up against the runaway success the USWNT has had. Endless barbs about their losses, lack of work in the community and relative inferiority to the women's team is the kind of milieu that breeds deep-seated resentment, and that shined through when one of the USWNT's brightest stars fell short of the standards we hold players do.
What Wambach did was terrible, and there is no excuse for driving under the influence — but the reaction for USMNT members breaks another golden rule: Don't tweet.
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