After not playing for nearly nine months, the United States women's soccer team protested the national anthem and made a social justice statement with "Black Lives Matter" uniforms prior to a game on Friday.
Ahead of their game with the Netherlands' national team, the American women walked out of the locker room wearing jackets emblazoned with "Black Lives Matter." During the playing of the American national anthem, nearly every member of the team knelt, according to ESPN, a sign of protest against America.
"We wear Black Lives Matter to affirm human decency. This is not political, it's a statement on human rights," the USWNT Twitter account said, along with a video showing the Black Lives Matter uniform jacket.
We wear Black Lives Matter to affirm human decency. This is not political, it’s a statement on human rights. https://t.co/QHDAx4iv7k— U.S. Soccer WNT (@U.S. Soccer WNT)1606487400.0
In a statement, the team said they "love our country" and called it "a true honor to represent America," but explained that supporting Black Lives Matter is an affirmation of "human decency."
The statement said:
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 systematically targeted.
Black Lives Matter.
Friday's game, the first in 261 days, was also the team's first game since racial unrest gripped the U.S. in the early summer following George Floyd's tragic death.
The U.S. men's soccer team also wore social justice messages on their pregame jersey's earlier this month, in their first outing since Floyd's death. The team wore anthem jackets with the words "Be the Change" emblazoned on the front with differing messages on the back, including, "Black Lives Matter," "Be Anti-Racist," and "Unity," according to ESPN.
The women's soccer team won Friday's game by a score of 2-0.