Crystal Dunn says it is now a time for action as the USA Women’s side have collectively decided to stop taking a knee ahead of games.
The World Cup winners joined the rest of the sporting world in showing support for social injustice following the death of George Floyd last summer by taking a knee during the national anthem.
And while a few still chose to stand for the past five matches since the decision was made, Sunday’s 2-0 SheBelieves win over Brazil saw every player return to standing as the national anthem was played out.
Dunn, who has been one of the more outspoken USWNT players regarding racial injustice, confirmed after the game that the team had felt the time for protest had passed and needs to be replaced by action.
“Those that were collectively kneeling felt like we were kneeling to bring about attention to police brutality and systemic racism,” Crystal Dunn said.
“But I think we decided that moving forward we no longer feel the need to kneel because we are doing the work behind the scenes.
“We never felt we were going to kneel forever, so there was always going to be a time that we felt it was time to stand.
“I think we’re all proud that we are doing the work behind the scenes and it was just a game that we felt we were ready to move into the next phase and just continuously fight for change.”
The decision is the latest in a number of teams and players deciding not to continue with the gesture with Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha last week stating that he felt it was “degrading”.
Several teams have stopped making the gesture before matches including Brentford, with striker Ivan Toney feeling players are being “used like puppets”, claiming it is allowing “people at the top” to rest on the subject and nothing has changed as a result.
Comments by Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha and Brentford’s Ivan Toney on taking a knee have been misunderstood, says Darren Lewis, who discusses why it is so important to understand why black footballers are so frustrated.
Since Project Restart last summer, players, officials and staff at Premier League and EFL games have been taking a knee before kick-off to show support for the global anti-racism movement.
Premier League clubs’ shirts also carried the Black Lives Matter slogan during the restarted 2019/20 season before being changed for this campaign to feature a patch promoting the league’s own anti-discrimination campaign No Room For Racism.
England manager Gareth Southgate believes the gesture is still hugely powerful and has not lost its message, but many believe it is quickly losing its original meaning.
Speaking on Super Sunday Matchday, Daily Mirror assistant editor Lewis said: “Instead of running around trying to find other players and asking them whether they are taking the knee or not, or asking people what they think of the decision not to take a knee, why aren’t we exploring the issues they are frustrated over?
“Why have we stopped asking the FA why there are no black people at the top of the game? Why have we stopped talking about the lack of black managers in our industry?
“Why have we stopped talking about the fact there are no black people at the top of the EFL?
“Why have we stopped talking about the fact that, once you finish playing, very often there is no position for you in senior administration or in management in this country?
“Black ex-footballers are second-class citizens in our sport. That’s why players take a knee – but we’re not asking them about that. We’re asking, ‘do you agree that he should or shouldn’t take a knee?’
“The whole thing is a distraction and we have forgotten what it’s for. There are some people who just don’t want people to have a voice. None of us want people running around causing disorder.
“The knee is a dignified way to protest, it’s been done for hundreds and hundreds of years. But people don’t want that either, so what do you want?”
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