When one of the best players in the world refuses to play for her nation, it’s not meant to make people comfortable. When arguably the best player in the world refuses to play at a World Cup it’s not meant to taste like a nice sweet cuppa hot chocolate. You say:
“The world’s best need to play on the biggest stage”
Yes. That’s why when the world’s best makes a stand to no do so, we should listen up.
Look to history, boycotts motivate change.
The biggest? Apartheid in South Africa. To quickly summarise a very complicated situation, the world essentially boycotted the nation in the early nineties. Change happened that saw an end to massive injustice that was the discriminatory regime of apartheid in that country.
In sport you ask?
The best I’ve seen is the USA women’s hockey side. My ice hockey friends are better off speaking on this, but before last year’s Winter Olympics, the side were planning to boycott a pre-Olympic tournament in a demand for better conditions. It went so deep, that to field a side, the selecters were looking to high school kids because literally everyone in that community was on board. (Side note, there’s more player action happening here, with players demanding better conditions, so keep an ear out for this)
Closer to home?
The Matildas boycott a tour of the USA just after the 2015 World Cup for a better pay deal. It worked. We saw significant change in conditions and better pay for our national side that has motivated further improvements in the conditions of our domestic league. This action is a foundation on where this side now sits, heading into a World Cup in the top 6 and with a majority of the squad playing full time.
So Hegerberg refusing to play because she’s fighting for equality? I’m on board. It’s not meant to be a comfortable situation. Sport is bigger than entertainment. It’s a vehicle for change.