Dunn says the team is passing anthem protest


The US women’s national team is moving beyond its collective visual protest into the “next phase” of its work for social justice.

All 11 starters stood before a 2-0 win against Brazil in the SheBelieves Cup on Sunday for the national anthem. The reserves, including the World Cup superstar and long-time protester Megan Rapinoe, also stayed on the sidelines. It is the first time in years that no one in the squad kneeled down while playing the anthem to draw attention to police brutality and systemic racism.

But it is not the end of the team’s fight for justice. It’s just a step in a more action-oriented direction, said defender Crystal Dunn after the game.

“We all knew we probably wouldn’t kneel forever,” said Dunn, who is Black. said of Jonathan Tannenwald of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It was only a matter of time. I think kneeling is a form of protest. It was a way to draw attention to the problems that were going on in the country and indeed around the world.”

USWNT advocates awareness of social justice

Rapinoe was one of the first white athletes to contract a knee during the national anthem, followed by Colin Kaepernick, the former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. That was almost five years ago, and it was met by US football, where the players had to stand.

This rule was lifted last summer after the murder of George Floyd in police custody sparked a national reckoning of racial relations and injustice. When the NWSL was the first professional team sports league in the US to restart during the pandemic, players across the league wore Black Lives Matter t-shirts and kneeled down.

USWNT players have continued this on the international stage. Some suffered a knee in the first SheBelieves Cup game against Canada. The Canadians all knelt before their game against Argentina, wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts.

There was no vote to end practice, Dunn said after Sunday’s game, but a collective decision it was time.

“It was just a game where we felt ready to move on to the next phase and keep fighting for change,” she said.

USWNT moves on to the next phase of racial justice

US defender Crystal Dunn said the national team was entering the next stage of racial justice. (AP Photo / Steve Luciano, File)

Dunn, a back-to-back NWSL champion with the North Carolina Courage, said the team felt they no longer need to kneel as players work behind the scenes to fight systemic racism. The talks the team is having on inequalities will also continue, she said.

“We’re really proud,” she said. “We have worked so much behind the scenes – so much. We all encourage each other to step out of our comfort zone and get more involved in the communities and really not just focus on football. Because ultimately we are more.” as an athlete.

“I just thought it was time for us to move on to the next phase and I think we are ready to move on. And that’s only because we are very comfortable in our off-field efforts to fight systemic racism.”

For decades, almost since its inception, the USWNT has set the bar for work towards equality. You fought with US football, the national governing body, on issues of equal pay, equal treatment and better health and safety. And their work is being emulated by other sports companies like the WNBA as well as women in a broader society.

Dunn, where USWNT says

Dunn, who has played more than 100 caps for the national team, said in June 2020 that she got into conflict over kneeling for the anthem. She had “countless” conversations with Rapinoe about kneeling and during a round table discussion said she was afraid to do so because of the retribution she might face as a black woman.

She said after Sunday’s game she felt better about where the team is now and how their discussions helped move things forward.

“I think for myself personally, I always felt that I was evidence of a lot of black experiences.” she said about fir forest. “I’m a black athlete who often felt like I wasn’t heard or seen, and a lot of black people feel the same way. And I think we had these initial discussions and I feel better.” where this team is.

“But I think we’re ready to keep working outside the field and have these conversations continually. And while we choose to stand, that doesn’t mean the conversations will go away or stop. It is I think we are now ready to overcome the protest phase and turn the entire conversation into actual work. “

Dunn is one of seven black or biracial players on the 23-player list for the SheBelieves Cup. Soccer is a sport that has largely remained a white sport in the United States.

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