USWNT: No more kneeling during national anthem, "Past protesting phase"

The soccer players on the U.S. women’s national team are not going to be kneeling in protest of police brutality and systemic racism during the national anthem anymore. U.S. defender Crystal Dunn said she and her teammates are “past the protesting phase”.

Team member Megan Rapinoe began taking a knee during the national anthem in 2016 as racial tensions continued to grow. Black Lives Matter began in 2013, during the Obama administration. Since that time, BLM, founded by self-avowed Marxists, has become a cause celebre. Professional sports team members regularly kneeled to virtue-signal – to haughtily present themselves as morally superior as they fight for racial equality. The problem with just taking a knee and spouting off liberal propaganda that America is a horrible, racist country is that little else was done. Sure, the wealthy players in some sports received publicity for writing checks to BLM or other social justice organizations but that isn’t how hearts and minds are changed. If anything, the players kneeling during the national anthem brought more division as their audiences were not at all down with the cause. Sports fans don’t tune in for politics. Rapinoe and then the rest of the women’s soccer team regularly kneeled during the national anthem following the lead of Colin Kaepernick.

The women’s team is competing in the SheBelieves Cup in Orlando, Florida. Before their game Sunday against Brazil, something notable happened – not a single player on the American team kneeled. What happened? Team player Crystal Dunn explained.

Dunn said there wasn’t a vote taken by the U.S. team to stand, but it was rather a collective decision.

“I think those that were collectively kneeling felt like we were kneeling to bring about attention to police brutality and systemic racism,” Dunn said. “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 are combating systemic racism. And 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.”

Crystal Dunn is one of seven black or biracial players on the current 23-player roster. Some players kneeled in a previous game against Canada. All the Canadians kneeled before their game against Argentina on Sunday and T-shirts that read “Black Lives Matter”. Canadians, eh? Dunn says she feels the dynamic has improved within the U.S. side in terms of addressing social justice. The battle isn’t over but now the concentration will be on working behind the scenes.

“For me personally I’ve always felt like I’m a testament to a lot of Black experiences,” she said. “I am a Black athlete who has often felt like I have not been heard or not been seen and many Black people feel the same way. I think we’ve had those initial discussions, and I feel better about where this team is. But I do think moving forward, we’re prepared to just continue working off the field and continuously having these conversations.

“Even though we are choosing to stand, it doesn’t mean that the conversations go away, or they stop,” Dunn added. “It’s all to say that we are now, I think, ready to move past the protesting phase and actually move into putting all of the talk into actual work.”

Taking a knee before a game or raising a fist in solidarity with a movement is a feel-good gesture for the person making it. In order to make real change, winning hearts and minds are done on the ground, in communities. It’s why police departments hold community outreach events. The sports players with fan bases do better working with young people in minority communities or in conjunction with law enforcement. Like all political activism, they have to put in the work, behind-the-scenes actions. Maybe this is a sign of growth on the part of protesting athletes.