It feels like it was just yesterday when Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl was relaying the story of U.S. women’s national team superhero Abby Wambach recalling the time FIFA “President for Life” Sepp Blatter hugged her now-wife, Sarah Huffman, and confused her for, arguably, the greatest women’s player to have ever walked the planet, Marta Vieira da Silva, aka Marta. The topic Wambach was discussing? Sexism in soccer. Here’s the juicy part:
U.S. forward Abby Wambach tells one from the time she and her now-wife, Sarah Huffman, were backstage in a VIP room in January 2013 before the World Player of the Year awards gala in Zurich, Switzerland. “[FIFA president] Sepp Blatter came into our little area, and he walked straight up to Sarah and thought she was [Brazilian star] Marta,” says Wambach.
“Marta!” Blatter said, hugging a bewildered Huffman, who doesn’t look much like Marta. “You are the best! The very best!”
“He had no idea who Marta was, and she’s won the award five times,” says Wambach. “For me, that’s just a slap in the face because it shows he doesn’t really care about the women’s game.”
I would have died laughing had I been backstage and overheard the conversation, because Marta …
… looks nothing like Huffman.
And now Wambach’s national team teammate Alex Morgan has added her own Blatterdote (Blatter anecdote) to the mix. Morgan, discussing sexism in the game, told TIME Magazine:
”At the FIFA World Player of the Year event [in 2012], FIFA executives and FIFA president Sepp Blatter didn’t know who I was. And I was being honored as top three in the world. That was pretty shocking.”
So there you go.
I’m just going to play devil’s advocate for a second. Maybe we should ease up on Blatter, because, arguably, he’s making progress. A year after not recognizing Morgan, the evil cartoon villain had clearly done some lady homework, as he at least knew that Marta was a person, even though he thought she looked like Sarah Huffman and was married to Abby Wambach.
Baby steps. Right, Alex Morgan?