The U.S. women’s national soccer team faced off against the Netherlands Friday in its first game in almost nine months — and did so while protesting racial injustice and demanding “that the liberties and freedoms that our country was founded on extend to everyone.”
In a 50-second video posted on Twitter, the team showed off their jackets, which had “Black Lives Matter” spread across the front over lines of red and blue.
“As a team we work towards a society where the American ideals are upheld, and Black lives are no longer systemically targeted,” team members narrated throughout the video. “We collectively acknowledge injustice, as that is the first step in working towards correcting it.”
The team concluded their video message with a tribute to former congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis, who died in July. They reiterated Lewis’ quote that urges “good trouble” as a way to stand up to unjust issues.
“When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, say something. Do something. Get in trouble, good trouble, necessary trouble.”
USWNT defender Crystal Dunn posted a separate message of support on Friday, saying, “it is our duty to demand that the liberties and freedoms that our country was founded on extend to everyone.”
“We protest against racial injustice and police brutality against Black people,” Dunn wrote. “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.”
Prior to the start of Friday’s game, several players — while donning their Black Lives Matter jackets — kneeled during the national anthem.
Friday’s game was the U.S. team’s first match abroad since they defeated the Netherlands 2-0 to claim their fourth World Cup title in 2019. The U.S. defeated the Netherlands again on Friday with the same score.
The U.S. women’s soccer team has not shied away from taking a stand on social justice issues in the past. One of the team’s most famous fights is the one for equal pay and an end to gender discrimination within U.S. Soccer.
After U.S. Soccer responded to a lawsuit in March by saying the women’s team had less responsibility than the men’s and that men’s soccer requires more skill, the women’s team responded by wearing their warm-up jerseys inside out, hiding the U.S. Soccer crest, at the SheBelieves Cup.
A judge dismissed the claims for equal pay, but the team’s allegations of gender discrimination are still being tried.
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