Players for the U.S. women’s national soccer team have decided to move on from kneeling during the anthem and instead focus on behind-the-scenes work to address racial inequity.
Many players have knelt for the anthem before national team and club matches over the past year to protest systemic racism. But the entire team stood during the anthem before a SheBelieves Cup match in Florida against Brazil.
Crystal Dunn, a 28-year-old wing back who first capped with the national team in 2013, explained the decision in a recent postgame news conference.
"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," Dunn added. "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.
In 2016, star forward Megan Rapinoe wrote an essay to explain why she would kneel during the anthem.
I haven’t experienced over-policing, racial profiling, police brutality or the sight of a family member’s body lying dead in the street. But I cannot stand idly by while there are people in this country who have had to deal with that kind of heartache," Rapinoe wrote. "There is no perfect way to protest. I know that nothing I do will take away the pain of those families. But I feel in my heart it is right to continue to kneel during the national anthem, and I will do whatever I can to be part of the solution.