In the fight to prevent the Women's World Cup from being played on artificial turf, the protests of a few high-profile hoopsters have bubbled to the surface.
NBA stars Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant took their shots at FIFA over the 2015 tournament in Canada, where fake grass is the field in the six host cities of Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and Moncton.
Bryant tweeted his dismay along with a photo, presumably showing a roughed-up pair of legs belonging to Sydney Leroux, a U.S. soccer player who has been among the more visible opponents of synethetic turf. Leroux apparently suffered a number of abrasions, visible in the picture (below), after playing on artificial grass. (Leroux endorses a sports drink that Bryant invested in, USA Today noted.)
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) August 13, 2014
Durant took to Facebook and called out the World Cup's governing body by name.
Several top soccer players have claimed the fake turf is discriminatory. Lawyers from several countries took up the cause, penning a letter threatening legal action against FIFA and officials in Canada. All men's and women's World Cups have been played on grass, and there are no plans for the men to switch to the synthetic stuff.
U.S. player Alex Morgan told TMZ that FIFA is "treating us as second class to the men."
"Using the women as guinea pigs in their experiment is just not right," she also said.
As The New York Times pointed out, the fake stuff is no field of dreams: "As the knees, elbows and chins of soccer players everywhere will divulge, the turf can peel back layers of skin, and it may cause concussions because it tends to be less forgiving than grass."
At least the women have a few fellow athletes from another sport standing tall for the cause.