The U.S. Women's soccer team did something that took some people by surprise on Sunday. Ahead of their match against Brazil in the SheBelieves Cup in Orlando, Florida, the entire team stood during the national anthem. Crystal Dunn, a defender on the USWNT, revealed that the players are "past the protesting phase and actually move into putting all of the talk into actual work."
"I think those that were collectively kneeling felt like we were kneeling to bring about attention to police brutality and systemic racism," Dunn said, as reported by ESPN. "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."
In a previous match against Canada, some players stood while others took a knee during the national anthem. In Canada's match against Argentina on Sunday, the entire team took a knee and wore shirts that read "Black Lives Matter." Dunn said the decision to stand was collective and there was not a vote taken.
"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."
The USWNT has been at the forefront when it comes to speaking out against racial issues. Megan Rapinoe, captain of the USWNT, has shared her thoughts on a number of issues including equal pay and Colin Kaepernick.
“While I’m enjoying all of this unprecedented and, frankly, a little bit uncomfortable attention and personal success in large part due to my activism off the field, Colin Kaepernick is still effectively banned — still banned from the NFL for kneeling during the national anthem in protest of known and systematic police brutality against people of color, known and systematic racial injustice, known and systematic white supremacy,” Rapinoe said in November. "It would be a slap in the face to Colin and to so many other faces, not to acknowledge, and for me personally, to work relentlessly to dismantle that system that benefits some over the detriment of others, and frankly is quite literally tearing us apart in this country."