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Alex Morgan ‘disgusted’ to see Spain’s World Cup ‘overshadowed by assault’

(Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Alex Morgan joined fellow U.S. women’s national team stars Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath in speaking out against Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales amid the growing World Cup controversy.

In the midst of Spain’s celebration of its World Cup victory on Aug. 20, Rubiales grabbed star midfielder Jenni Hermoso’s face and kissed her. The public outcry over the unsolicited gesture has swelled in the days following Spain’s victory, but Rubiales refused to resign in a defiant speech he delivered Friday to the Spanish federation (RFEF).

Morgan described herself as “disgusted” by the RFEF president’s actions. She also threw her support behind Hermoso and her teammates, who are insisting upon leadership changes within the Spanish federation before they return to the national team.

“I stand by Jenni Hermoso and the Spanish players,” she wrote in a social media post. Winning a World Cup should be one of the best moments in these players’ lives but instead it’s overshadowed by assault, misogyny, and failures by the Spanish federation.”

Morgan’s words echoed those of her fellow USWNT forward Megan Rapinoe, who condemned Rubiales in an interview with The Atlantic on Monday.

“What kind of upside-down world are we in? On the biggest stage, where you should be celebrating, Jenni has to be physically assaulted by this guy,” Rapinoe said, noting that Rubiales’ actions signaled “such a deep level of misogyny and sexism in that federation and in that man.”

Tobin Heath, who won the 2019 World Cup with Morgan and Rapinoe but missed the 2023 tournament due to injury, also voiced her displeasure with the Spanish federation. In doing so, she joined not just her U.S. teammates but a number of international stars in the chorus of players reacting to the controversy.

“The global stage yet again exposing global issues,” she wrote. “These players and this team have repeatedly spoken up for years! Where are the changes? Toxicity is at the core of (the Spanish federation). A federation that proudly displays patriarchy, sexism, and misogyny.”

Christen Press, who also missed the 2023 tournament due to injury, had spoken about Spain’s issues heading into the World Cup semifinals. Even before Rubiales’ kiss of Hermoso, the federation was embroiled in a longstanding dispute with its players over the national team environment.

“I think that the hope is that the more success the team has, the bigger voice and the more respect that they get from their country,” Press said at the time — a statement that has proved portentous, though not in the way she would have expected.