Entering their match-up against the national team of the Netherlands, the United States’ Women’s Soccer team took an opportunity to protest the very nation in which they play for, as nearly every member kneeled for the national anthem on foreign soil while flaunting jackets adorned with “BLACK LIVES MATTER” during warm-ups, instead of the stars and stripes.
“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,” read a statement posted to social media.
“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,” the statement continued.
“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,” the statement concluded.
What embarrassing imagery for the United States. Americans must represent themselves with pride, especially to a foreign audience. A message of dissonance and rebellion through kneeling, disapproving of the nation that, as an athlete, you now embody and that gave you the opportunity to compete reeks of the highest disrespect imaginable. As team USA, pride and unity within the flag must be the prevailing theme, not criticism or social justice. Since sports bring people together, the national team’s responsibility becomes bringing the people under a true and virtuous patriotism, proud of the nation they represent.
Even extending to our own soil, kneeling returned to the national stage during NFL’s Thanksgiving slate of games, with Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and Houston Texans Deshaun Watson kneeling before their Thanksgiving match-up, quickly garnering President Trump’s booming disapproval. Social justice and sports have quickly become intertwined, replacing the distinctly American sentiment that American sports leagues (especially the NFL) have universally prided themselves on in times past.