After a week of ducking questions about the origins of her regrettable World Cup victory parade partnership with the racist and misogynist clown show that is Barstool Sports, Christen Press finally responded last night. It will surprise no one that Barstool’s version of events was misleading.
In Barstool’s telling of the story, Press herself reached out to the site seeking some kind of partnership opportunity because, as the blog headlined “Confirmed: The USWNT Loves Barstool Sports” put it, “she’s a HUGE Stoolie.” Speaking after a Utah Royals match, Press herself told Alex Vejar of the Salt Lake Tribune* that in fact she, like the vast majority of people who don’t suffer from brain damage accrued from eagerly chugging glass cleaner as part of some moronic frat hazing ritual, did not know what Barstool was before being presented with the idea of appearing on their Instagram account:
To quote Press:
To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t familiar with the site when my team presented the opportunity to me. I think everybody that knows me well knows that I support kindness, respect and dignity for all people.
This statement comes after a concerted effort on the part of the USWNT’s communication staff, Press’s publicity people, and probably even Press herself to prevent the world champion from having to answer for her ill-considered decision to link up with the site—a process of stymying documented here at Deadspin as well as over at the Guardian. It’s good that Press has at last acknowledged the folly of lending Barstool her celebrity, the USWNT’s fame, and the commendable and progressive things she and the USWNT have come to represent, and in doing so allowing an odious site to use her and the national team as a shield behind which they can attempt to hide their own scuzzy behavior that flies directly in the face of what Press and the USWNT stand for.
Regardless of whether or not Press herself knew about Barstool Sports before aligning with them, her actions allowed the site to use her and the USWNT in that way, and for that reason she deserves the criticism she’s come in for. Press’s statement wasn’t as strong as it could’ve been, but it’s a good first start. Next on her to-do list should be finding better representatives who won’t walk her directly off a cliff like this in the future.
Update (6:30 p.m. EDT): Though this post originally included the reporter Alex Vejar’s video, we added his name and paper to more fully credit his work.