USWNT wears Black Lives Matter on chest for Netherlands friendly 'to affirm human decency'

·2 min read

The United States Women’s National soccer team took the pitch for the first time in nine months on Friday and did so with Black Lives Matter written across their chest. Most of the team took a knee during the playing of the national anthem.

USWNT wears warm-ups with Black Lives Matter

The USWNT Twitter account released a video Friday morning showing the letters designed, cut and applied to warm-up jackets. “Black Lives Matter” is written across the horizontal red and blue stripes across the chest. The squad took on the Netherlands.

Shortly after the announcement, players shared a similarly worded statement on their social accounts.

The statement:

We love our country, and it is a true honor to represent America. It is also our duty to demand that the liberties and freedoms that our country was founded on extend to everyone.

Today we wear Black Lives Matter to affirm human decency. 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.

As the United States Women’s National team players, we collectively work toward a society where the American ideals are upheld, and Black lives are no longer systemically targeted.

Black Lives Matter.

It is the first opportunity for the USWNT squad to make a collective visual statement. The group has been sidelined since the sports world went on hiatus in March. The Tokyo Olympics were delayed until July 2021, but U.S. Soccer Federation leaders were able to squeeze in a friendly by year’s end.

The game is being played in the Netherlands. The last time the two squads met was the 2019 FIFA World Cup final the U.S. won, 2-0.

USWNT players on Black Lives Matter

Crystal Dunn and teammates run at practice.
The USWNT released a statement on Black Lives Matter ahead of a friendly. (Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images).

USWNT stars who participated in the NWSL’s Challenge Cup in June wore shirts that read “Black Lives Matter” in the tournament openers and kneeled on the field for the anthem. A photo of Julie Ertz with Casey Short went viral in the weeks after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.

Members of the team have also been vocal despite not being in competitive games stateside. Megan Rapinoe has spoken out about racial injustice, including remarks on how U.S. Soccer’s old anthem rule silenced Black players on the roster.

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