Kneeling US women’s national soccer team defends ‘Black Lives Matter’ on uniforms, say it’s not political

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Members of the United States women’s national soccer team took a knee during the national anthem and sported anthem jackets declaring “Black Lives Matter.”

Ahead of the International Friendly match against the Netherlands on Friday, members of the U.S. team showed up wearing the jackets with a message they claimed was “not political” but supposedly one aimed at human rights.

“We wear Black Lives Matter to affirm human decency,” the team said in a statement Friday.

“We protest against racial injustice and police brutality against Black people. We protest against the racist infrastructures that do not provide equal opportunity for Black and brown people to fulfill their dreams, including playing on this team,” the statement read.

Most USWNT team members took a knee during the national anthem ahead of the game, a rematch of last year’s Women’s World Cup Final.

The U.S. Soccer Federation this summer repealed a policy banning players from kneeling during the anthem which was implemented in 2016 after Megan Rapinoe made the move in solidarity with the police brutality protest by former NFL player Colin Kaepernick.

A video showing highlights of how the team’s special Black Lives Matter-themed jackets were created was posted on the official USWNT Twitter account.

“We wear Black Lives Matter to affirm human decency,” the caption reiterated. “This is not political, it’s a statement on human rights.

The United States men’s national soccer team also sported messaging on their anthem jackets earlier this month.

“With the goal of inspiring action on social justice issues, all of the players had ‘Be the Change’ adorned on the front of their anthem jackets,” the USMNT said on their website.

“The spirit of their message is that each and every person has the ability, opportunity and responsibility to make a difference in our own way,” the USMNT explained. “Also, on the back of the jacket, each player had the opportunity to include a personalized message representing something meaningful to them.”

The Women’s National Basketball Association dedicated their season to Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old African-American woman who was fatally shot by police in her Louisville, Kentucky, apartment back in March. Members of the WNBA and the NBA were allowed to wear jerseys with messages at each of their games this year.

Earlier this year, the USWNT made a statement when members wore their warm-up jerseys inside out to intentionally hide the U.S. Soccer crest in protest on the issue of equal gender pay.

Though the latest supposedly non-political move by the sports team received its usual share of applause from the left, many took to Twitter to call out the jacket messaging and the choice to kneel during the anthem.

 

Frieda Powers

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