The U.S. soccer team lost dozens of fans this week before they even started their game. Going by a photo tweeted by team member Hercules Gomez it looks like when Army troops lined up to cheer the team in Guatemala the players just sauntered by without so much as a thank you. According to TMZ and Daily Mail the players just ignored the soldiers like they were "the help" from Downton Abbey.
But is that really what happened when the soccer team landed in Guatemala?
The photo went viral and people who don't even pay attention to soccer were outraged. The U.S. soccer team sent the troops an apology and the troops graciously accepted. A soccer team rep also told TMZ (who broke the story with the photo), "The players and staff were simply unsure of the correct protocol in terms of engaging the military members on arrival to Guatemala ... [the players] weren't sure if they were welcoming them or providing security."
I'm trying to see things from the soccer players' perspective. I guess if you've had little to no exposure to the military soldiers can seem intimidating. You're vaguely aware of there being rules for behavior -- but what are they? Plus, the players' backs are toward us, so maybe they're smiling and making eye contact but it's just that we can't see it from this perspective. And it's a picture -- how do we know what the soccer team players are even saying -- or not saying?!?
And wait until you hear what Hercules Gomez wrote right under that controversial Instagram photo: "Much love to you and the rest of the troops that support us from abroad. Tweet me a pic of you guys in S. Korea and I'll give you a much deserved shout out. Saludos." Oh yeah, and the caption for the photo reads, "Being welcomed to Guatemala City by #USTroops." So at least one team member was demonstrably thankful to the troops, even if you can't tell from this ONE photo.
Do you think the soccer players really ignored the troops or was this one image blown out of proportion?
Image via @herculezg/Instagram