Alex Morgan has accused her goal celebration critics of "double standards", with the United States striker perplexed at why her tea sipping caused such a stir when men are "grabbing their sacks".
USA captain Morgan celebrated scoring a Women's World Cup semifinal winner against England by lifting her little finger and pretending to sip tea, a popular beverage in the country of her opponents and one linked to American independence after a shipment of the drink was dumped in the sea by colonists in an event known as the Boston Tea Party.
She was called "distasteful" and "disrespectful" by her former Orlando Pride team-mate and England international Lianne Sanderson, who is working at the tournament as a pundit for beIN SPORTS , while television presenter Piers Morgan said her celebration was "bordering on a declaration of war".
Yet the forward hit back on Friday, saying it was not a shot at England and suggesting that those lamenting her were sexist given the lack of comparative uproar over Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Simeone's crotch-grabbing celebrations in last year's Champions League, which did result in fines for both.
"My celebration was actually more about, 'That's the tea', which is telling a story, spreading news," Morgan said.
"Sophie Turner does it quite often, she's one of my favourite actresses, so it wasn't a hit to England in any way.
"I feel that there is some sort of double standard for females in sports to feel like we have to be humble in our successes and have to celebrate, but not too much, and have to do something but it always has to be in a limited fashion.
"You see men celebrating all around the world in big tournaments, grabbing their sacks or whatever it is, and when I look at sipping a cup of tea, I'm a little taken aback. You have to laugh about it to see all of the criticism."
Morgan was particularly unimpressed with Juventus forward Sanderson's opinion, given they played together in 2016.
"I'm a little disappointed in that and obviously we were team-mates at Orlando Pride so I have the utmost respect for Lianne and all of my team-mates that I've ever played with," Morgan added.
"So, it's a little disappointing to see that."
USA face Netherlands in Sunday's World Cup final and, should Morgan add to her six goals at the tournament, the celebrations are unlikely to be muted.
"I don't think we'll be deterred by a couple of naysayers," she added.
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