- The US women’s soccer team played its first game in 261 days against the Netherlands on Friday.
- Nine of the team’s 11 starting players kneeled during the US national anthem before the game.
- Defender Kelley O’Hara and midfielder Julie Ertz were the only starters who stood, and superstar Alex Morgan kneeled from the sideline.
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The US women’s soccer team has committed itself to the notion that Black Lives Matter.
Ahead of the team’s first match in 261 days, most of the starting players backed that up.
Nine of the team’s 11 starting players kneeled during the US national anthem before their game against the Netherlands on Friday. Defender Kelley O’Hara and midfielder Julie Ertz were the only starters who stood.
Superstar Alex Morgan kneeled on the sideline along with some of her teammates and team staffers.
—Meredith Cash (@mercash22) November 27, 2020
ESPN did not show footage of the players kneeling, but TUDN did.
The two starters who stood on Friday have had mixed responses to the anthem this year. Ertz kneeled alongside her Chicago Red Stars teammate Casey Short in June. O’Hara received some criticism for being one of the only Utah Royals FC players who stood during the National Women’s Soccer League Challenge Cup.
O’Hara standing alongside her kneeling Utah Royals FC teammates.
Alex Goodlett/Getty Images
The US Soccer Federation recently lifted its requirement that national team players refrain from protesting in any way during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Shortly after striker Megan Rapinoe became one of the first professional athletes to kneel during the national anthem alongside Colin Kaepernick to protest police brutality and racial injustice in America, the federation banned such demonstrations.
Some four years later, US Soccer apologized to Rapinoe for the way it handled her demonstrations.
Megan Rapinoe kneels during the anthem in 2016.
AP Photo/John Bazemore
Before the highly anticipated matchup against the Netherlands on Friday, the 23 players who made the trip overseas wore “Black Lives Matter” warm-up jackets.
In a video released by the team, players explained that the decision to wear the words “Black Lives Matter” across their chests “is not political” but intended to make “a statement on human rights.”
“As a team, we work towards a society where the American ideals are upheld and Black lives are no longer systemically targeted,” players said in the video. “We collectively acknowledge injustice, as that is the first step in working towards correcting it.”
—U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) November 27, 2020
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