I’ll admit it: I wanted the U.S. to beat Portugal more than I’ve wanted anything in a while.
Watching Clint Dempsey and Co. storm to a 2-1 lead only to have it wiped away in the final 10 seconds felt like a boot to the guavas—a boot worn by an irritatingly handsome mortal enemy.
As a sports fan, I took the 2-2 draw between the U.S and Portugal harder than most losses, but as bitter and disappointed as I felt at the time, nothing sloshing in my gut on Sunday night was half as caustic as the venom Twitter trolls aimed at former Kansas Jayhawks star Joel Embiid.
A Real Madrid fan, the 7’0” NBA draft prospect tweeted out his congrats to Cristiano Ronaldo after watching the Portugal striker assist Silvestre Varela in evening the score in the final moments of added time.
Ronaldo my boy #halamadrid— Joel-Hans Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) June 22, 2014
The tweet was nothing more than a kid cheering for his favorite player, but based on the responses he received from certain Twitter users, you’d think Embiid had put an American flag to the torch.
Ranging everywhere from xenophobic rants to “cripple” remarks, the injured Cameroonian's mentions quickly turned into an outpouring of reactionary offal.
@JoelEmbiid if it wasn't for the USA you'd still be living in a third world country, show some respect.— Rich Homie John (@Johnsiebels) June 23, 2014
Yes, the 20-year-old from Cameroon who came to the United States to play basketball can’t cheer for a soccer player on another national team, because that would be unpatriotic. Obviously, the moment Embiid set foot on American soil, he forfeited all prior allegiances and swore to cheer for U.S. in all things.
Furthermore, Embiid has to bandwagon the U.S. men's national team during the World Cup because “we” gave him a scholarship and ‘MERICA. It’s a bulletproof argument, really.
There are other tweets in response to Embiid’s message, but I can’t post them here, due to language. Suffice it to say that a small subsection of U.S. soccer fans (or just morons with a television and a Twitter account) did their best to be the worst representatives of a country built on the idea of individual freedom.
With that said, Embiid probably isn’t losing too much sleep over his Twitter mentions. He's currently recovering from surgery on a stress fracture in his right foot, meaning he gets to relax, eat Oreos and wait to hear his name announced at the 2014 NBA draft later this week.
And regardless of allegiances, all soccer fans know that if there’s any good time to be stuck in bed for a few weeks, it’s during the World Cup.
On the Twitters.