DeAndre Yedlin Says He May Leave USA Men’s Soccer Team Amid Racial Injustice

United States' DeAndre Yedlin (2) moves the ball against Colombia during the second half of an international friendly soccer match Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

John Raoux/Associated Press

Newcastle defender DeAndre Yedlin said Friday he is considering ending his affiliation with the United States men’s national soccer team because of racial inequality in the U.S.

Speaking with Sky Sports, Yedlin discussed his feelings on representing the United States in international play:

“It’s something I’ve thought a lot about during this quarantine. My grandfather, my grandmother especially, I have a whole family of activists. They’ve always told me to stand up for what I believe in.

“There’s no amount of money that can make me shut up about something I think is wrong.

“It’s one of those waiting games to see if a change does happen. But if things go as they stand it’s hard for me as an African-American male to represent a country that does things like this where all people aren’t equal.”

Protests against racial inequality, police brutality and social injustice have been held across the United States and the globe since 46-year-old Black man George Floyd was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

Floyd died after officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee pressed against the back of his neck for nearly nine minutes while he was handcuffed and facedown on the ground even though Floyd said several times he couldn’t breathe.

Chauvin was fired and then arrested and charged with second-degree murder, third degree-murder and second-degree manslaughter for Floyd’s death. The other three officers on the scene—Thomas Lane, J.A. Keung and Tou Thao—have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

Earlier this month, Yedlin took to social media to share his thoughts:

DeAndre Yedlin @yedlinny

A couple days after George Floyd’s death, my grandfather texted me and told me he’s glad that I am not living in the U.S. right now because he would fear for my life as a young black man. As days have passed, this text from my grandfather has not been able to leave my mind.

DeAndre Yedlin @yedlinny

in the country his grandchild represents when he plays for the United States, in the country his grandchild represents when he’s playing in England. I remember being in elementary school, and having to recite the Pledge of Allegiance which ends

DeAndre Yedlin @yedlinny

all we’re asking is we are seen as equal, as more than 3/5 of a man, as humans. My heart goes out in solidarity to George Floyd, his family, and all of the countless number of victims that have had their lives taken at the hands of meaningless police brutality.

Yedlin also commented on President Donald Trump’s statement that he will no longer watch the U.S. national soccer teams after U.S. Soccer repealed a policy that required players to stand during the national anthem: “The fact that he said that is sad because obviously he does have a platform. For some reason, people do listen to him. But honestly, I couldn’t care less if he watches the games. I really don’t care.”

The 26-year-old right-back expressed his belief that people should have an understanding for the fact that kneeling during the anthem is about supporting the Black Lives Matter movement rather than disrespecting the United States and its flag.

The Seattle native also spoke in favor of the English Premier League’s move to replace players’ names with “Black Lives Matter” on jerseys: “If kids start seeing it on the back of players’ jerseys, they start raising questions.”

Yedlin began his professional career with Seattle Sounders FC in MLS and has spent the past five years in England playing for Tottenham Hotspur, Sunderland and Newcastle.

He has made 102 appearances for Newcastle and 62 appearances for the United States’ senior national team. That includes five appearances for Team USA last year.

Yedlin is a speedy defender who uses his athleticism to create offense, and the United States would lose a talented player if he decides to stop representing the country.

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