Ahead of their friendly game with Netherlands, the United States women's national soccer team (USWNT) wore anthem jackets with the message ‘Black Lives Matter.’
Ahead of the game, members of the team released a statement on social media: "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."
In another tweet posted on the team’s official Twitter account, the team reiterated that the decision was "not political, it's a statement on human rights."
A number of team members also knelt during the National Anthem before the game, which was a rematch of last year's Women's World Cup Final. USWNT took the cup with a 2-0 win.
While various team members have been vocal about their quest for social justice – most notably Megan Rapinoe, one of the first athletes to join Colin Kaepernick in kneeling to protest police brutality in 2016 – the US Soccer Federation has not always been supportive.
Most notable was when US Soccer banned players from kneeling during the anthem after Rapinoe took the knee. The policy was repealed this summer amidst mass protests following the killing of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd.
Many teams and leagues have shown support for the Black Lives Matter movement during the summer, with both NBA and WNBA players wearing messages on their jerseys in every game, and the WNBA dedicating their season to Breonna Taylor.
Earlier this month, the United States men's national soccer team wore jackets with messages like "World Peace" and "Unity."
This isn’t the only time USWNT players have banded together in powerful displays for justice. Earlier in the year – after US Soccer refused to offer female players equal pay with male players, stating that getting to be a male player requires more skill and responsibility – the USWNT kept their warm-up jerseys inside out to hide the US Soccer crest.
Sources: America Now