Franklin Graham Says U.S. Women's Soccer 'More Focused on Political Wokeness' Than Winning

Evangelical leader Reverend Franklin Graham has suggested the U.S. women's national soccer team (USWNT)was more focused on "political wokeness" than the game following their surprise defeat on Monday.

Graham, who is president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and aid organization Samaritan's Purse, took to Twitter on Monday to criticize USWNT after they lost 1-0 to Canada at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

The semifinal defeat was the first time Canada has won a match against USWNT since 2001 and means the team will miss out on a gold medal at this year's games, though they are still in contention for the bronze. The U.S. team had entered the Olympics as the top ranked women's soccer team in the world.

Graham tweeted: "The US women's Olympic soccer team lost to Canada for the 1st time in 20 yrs, & I think a lot of people saw it coming."

"It seems they've lost their focus & instead became more focused on political wokeness & using the Olympic stage to promote their agendas," he wrote.

Graham appears to be referring to the team's decision to take a knee before games at this year's Olympics.

USWNT has received strong criticism from some conservatives for taking the knee. Those who support taking the knee view it as a statement against racism but critics charge that kneeling before games is a politically divisive gesture.

Several other women's soccer teams also took the knee at the games, including Great Britain, Chile and New Zealand. The Canadian team joined the U.S. in taking a knee before Monday's game.

The US women’s Olympic soccer team lost to Canada for the 1st time in 20 yrs, & I think a lot of people saw it coming. It seems they've lost their focus & instead became more focused on political wokeness & using the Olympic stage to promote their agendas. https://t.co/Zp2M46LizB

— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) August 3, 2021

USWNT took the knee before their first Olympic match with Sweden on July 21 and their subsequent surprise defeat by the Swedish team led to claims that the team was too woke to win.

Former President Donald Trump told a rally on July 26: "Wokeism makes you lose, ruins your mind, and ruins you as a person. You become warped. You become demented. The U.S. women's soccer team is a very good example of what's going on."

U.S. women's soccer star Megan Rapinoe told NBC on Monday the team's loss to Canada was "terrible" and said that it was "[o]bviously not our best game."

"Not our best tournament. We didn't have it today. Too many errors from us. I felt like the space was there for us. We just couldn't get into it," Rapinoe said.

"We never want to lose to Canada. I don't think I've ever lost to Canada. Still a lot to compete for. That's what I told the girls. It's not the color we want but there's still a medal on the line. It sucks," she said.

However, USWNT can still place third and win the bronze medal if they can win their next game against Australia on Thursday, while Sweden and Canada have advanced to the final on Friday.

Newsweek has asked U.S. Soccer for comment.

Megan Rapinoe Warms Up at the Olympics
Megan Rapinoe #15 of Team United States looks on as she warms up prior to the Women's semifinal match between USA and Canada on day 10 of the Tokyo Olympic Games at Kashima Stadium on August 02, 2021 in Kashima, Ibaraki, Japan. The U.S. team lost to Canada by 1-0. Naomi Baker/Getty Images