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Apr 05, 2016

Abby Wambach busted for DUI, earns public mockery from USMNTers

Abby Wambach was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants in Portland, Oregon late Saturday night after allegedly running a red light on her way home from a dinner party, and plead not guilty – as per the state’s usual legal conventions – in court on Tuesday.

The recently-retired U.S. Women’s National Team icon was released from Multnomah County Jail on her own recognizance after processing, and took full responsibility for her actions in a Facebook post on Sunday.

But the incident has nonetheless dragged Wambach under an extremely unflattering spotlight, with carmaker MINI USA quickly dropping her from their marketing campaigns and further headlines cropping up after she admitted to marijuana and cocaine use between the ages of 24 and 25 in court filings related to her DUI arrest.

And it has also exposed the unsightly fault lines, among players, teams and fans alike, between the men’s and women’s national team programs.

+READ: USWNT players file discrimination complaint against U.S. Soccer

Wambach has been the subject of widespread scorn and condemnation in the wake of the incident, including from two prominent U.S. Men’s National Team players, Jozy Altidore and Alejandro Bedoya, who cracked jokes about the weekend’s news on Twitter using references to previous controversies – Wambach’s pointed criticism of the USMNT’s use of foreign-born dual nationals and her USWNT teammate Hope Solo‘s run-in with the law during a national-team camp last year.

Bedoya Jozy tweets

“Last night I was arrested for DUII in Portland after dinner at a friend’s house,” Wambach, the all-time leading scorer in international soccer, wrote in her Facebook post. “Those that know me, know that I have always demanded excellence from myself. I have let myself and others down. I take full responsibility for my actions.

“This is all on me. I promise that I will do whatever it takes to ensure that my horrible mistake is never repeated. I am so sorry to my family, friends, fans and those that look to follow a better example.”

Bedoya-for-USMNT-vs-CzechWhile it’s extremely unusual for high-level players to publicly criticize their teammates, the U.S. Soccer Federation’s current marketing slogan, “One Nation, One Team,” clearly has not been interpreted as applying across genders by any of the stars involved in this situation.

Wambach’s arrest happens to coincide with her former USWNT colleagues’ very public battle with the federation regarding their quest for equal pay with the USMNT in their ongoing collective-bargaining agreement talks, a campaign which has led some of the women to compare the men’s team’s performance and compensation levels unfavorably to their own.

+READ: It’s not about the revenue: Shawhan on USSF vs. USWNT

While goalkeeper Tim Howard professed his support for the WNT’s cause in a press junket ahead of his move home to Major League Soccer this summer, the rest of the men’s squad has been conspicuously quiet with regards to the latest news from their female counterparts.

The MNT’s players union has issued statements of support for the WNT in the past, however, most prominently with its endorsement of the women’s protests against the playing of the 2015 Women’s World Cup entirely on artificial turf in Canada last summer.