The 2022 FIFA World Cup hasn’t even kicked off yet and we may have already witnessed the strangest tweet about the global event, courtesy of ESPN’s SportsCenter Twitter account.
This is what happens when everyone goes to bed assuming Twitter will be extinct by the morning. Despite #RIPTwitter trending and uncertainty spiraling around Elon Musk’s $44 billion pet project, the social media platform remains. And SportsCenter attempted to use it to its fullest Friday morning by posting the following image:
While the United States Men’s National Soccer Team’s (USMNT) chances of winning the World Cup this year are slim, it’s hard to imagine the above team losing by less than 50 goals in any match.
Was this supposed to be the Worldwide Leader in Sports’ way of promoting the USMNT in the World Cup? Is it meant to perpetuate the tasteless take that the U.S. isn’t renowned for soccer because its best athletes play other sports?
We get it, the USMNT is not an international powerhouse. That frustrates some casual fans considering the USA’s tendency to produce historically great players in other sports, such as LeBron James and Tom Brady. But to replace the USMNT faces with more popular sports stars is disrespectful to the athletes who are representing their country in the World Cup. The USMNT’s roster may not feature the same national appeal as LeBron James, Steph Curry or Patrick Mahomes, but they’re still incredible athletes.
The only thing SportsCenter had going in their favor is the fact that this tweet may not have been as bad as Bleacher Report’s similar tweet from 2019. But SportsCenter and ESPN brands themselves as the Worldwide Leader in sports, while Bleacher Report is…not.
— Joe Ali (@JoeAli) November 18, 2022
ESPN and SportsCenter were rightfully roasted for the tweet, which was deleted after about 30 minutes, despite all the time and effort that was invested into photoshopping the heads off the USMNT players.
— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) November 18, 2022
Thee is a reason why the US is not taken seriously in football… been saying it for years. This is why. https://t.co/oNeeNrqk0t
— Juan Arango (@JuanG_Arango) November 18, 2022
This SportsCenter tweet isn't the biggest thing in the world, but it is insulting.
The dudes we have repping us in the World Cup are great athletes.
— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) November 18, 2022
Oh no ? pic.twitter.com/WpqBR6FMTc
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) November 18, 2022
What is wrong with ESPN in their lack of understanding a major global sport?
Seriously it’s so damn embarrassing. pic.twitter.com/Py2nNGN10z
— USMNT ?? Thoughts (@USMNT_Thoughts) November 18, 2022
**PSA**@SportsCenter was pilloried into deleting this cringe. Good. They should be ashamed.
BUT, we as a soccer community gotta look inward for a sec. This month is HUGE for growth of soccer in the US. Be welcoming to new fans. Even if they make silly comments or ask dumb Qs. pic.twitter.com/KBKUgoFK8v
— Sam's Army Podcast (@samsarmy) November 18, 2022
SportsCenter can delete the tweet all they want. The picture lives on forever. pic.twitter.com/ho8JpRqNdO
— Bobby Reagan (@BarstoolReags) November 18, 2022
Is this implying the current crop of the USMNT is not good enough? pic.twitter.com/sw3p31sWi0
— THEE Emanzi (@emanzi) November 18, 2022
A now deleted Tweet from ESPN's 'SportsCenter' account. pic.twitter.com/0FOMUXDVcf
— Mark J. Burns (@markjburns88) November 18, 2022