Was Alex Morgan’s tea-cup celebration more provocative than Patrick Reed’s ‘shush’?

July 3, 2019

Alex Morgan caused quite a stir on Tuesday when, after scoring against England in the World Cup semi-final to give her side a 2-1 lead, she celebrated by pretending to sip from a tea cup.

You can watch it below:

As a half-English, half-American avid golf and soccer fan, I feel qualified to analyze all the various components of this celebration, especially as it relates to another well-known but controversial move: Patrick Reed’s infamous “shush” at the 2014 Ryder Cup.

Which one was better (and more insufferable)? Let’s break it down.

Originality

Patrick Reed’s shush celebration may have been original in a golf context, but it’s hardly an original celebration in the sports world. Especially in the UK. It’s used all the time to taunt or antagonize opposing fans.

Alex Morgan’s, by contrast, was one-of-a-kind. It was surprising and something that she’ll be remembered for, so the tea-sipping celebration wins this round.

More original: Morgan

Execution

Any self-respecting Brit knows how bad that tea-drinking form was. The handle of her fake cup was far too close to her mouth, she sort of cocks her wrist and tilts her head back; if she was actually holding tea, she’d spill it all over herself.

Reed’s celebration was far easier to pull off, but it’s hard to quibble with the form. Textbook.

Best execution: Reed


Insufferability

Tough call here, because, truth be told, both celebrations were insufferable. Morgan wins points because there was a certain mocking quality about it when the match was still far from over, but ultimately, Reed’s was tougher to swallow. It was boldly antagonist, rather hostile, made worse by the fact it was during a contest in which his team was losing, in a match in which he was all square, on foreign soil.

Most Insufferable: Reed

Rudeness

Reed’s shush may have been more insufferable, but Morgan’s was more rude. Golf fans could argue that Reed was merely responding to a slate of rude and rowdy European golf fans; Morgan’s was basically unprovoked and occurred at a point in the match when the result was far from decided.

Maybe you could argue Morgan was responding to English USWNT critics for their celebrations during their recent 13-0 win. But even that is a more valid debate — American sports fans themselves constantly debate the ethics of “running up the score” — than defending fans who were at times actively rooting against Reed and Team USA.

Finally, Morgan’s celebration was more about mocking a stereotype than Reed’s was. I don’t really want to speculate what mocking the opposing American stereotype would entail, but think about how furious American sports would be if an English player scored a goal then celebrated on television by pretending to down, like, five cheeseburgers and a jumbo Slurpee.

More Rude: Morgan

Fan Reaction/Stage

There’s no debate here: Morgan wins this category night and day. Rude though it may have been, it takes guts to celebrate like this halfway through a World Cup semi-final, after scoring a goal, in one of the most watched matches in history. The reception from most American fans was also very positive, so there’s no question she comes out on top here.

Better reception from fans: Morgan

Overall

So Morgan’s tea-sipping celebration was more rude, but also more original and definitely more epic. Reed’s antagonistic shush was more insufferable and less original, but was executed to perfection. Even still, I don’t think that’s enough to claim he had the better overall celebration.

Best Celebration: Alex Morgan’s tea-cup sip!

(Photo by Catherine Ivill - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)