Dunn speaks on racism in football

01 Apr, 2021 - 00:04 0 Views
Dunn speaks on racism in football Crystal Dunn

The ManicaPost

“WHAT, was I going to kneel for 30 more years? I don’t know.” In February, World Cup winner Crystal Dunn and her US team-mates stood for the national anthem. It was a collective decision made by the squad after almost a year of taking the knee in protest against systemic racism.

“We want people to understand that we are doing the work behind the scenes,” she told the BBC.

“No-one can really sit here in 2021 and be like: ‘Wow, police brutality? What do you mean? That exists?’

“We’re past that point of bringing awareness. Now I think people need to be acting and not just getting on board because they’re like ‘oh we’re part of the trend now’.”

Dunn is supporting football charity Common Goal’s Anti-Racist Project, which has collaborated with clubs from the three major leagues in North America and the US national team’s largest fan group. It aims to fund and roll out anti-racism training to 5,000 coaches, 60,000 young people and 115 staff in the first year, with hopes of later expanding to Britain and elsewhere. It is ambitious, but the prospect of collective action is what attracted US international and Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen.

“Historically there have been lots of athletes who have been activists and used their voice as a force for good to bring about change,” the 25-year-old told the BBC.

“After the death of George Floyd, I felt it was time for me to stop using my platform just for my career and my personal gain.

“It was time to use it as a voice for people who are not being heard, who are being silenced and ignored.” Dunn, 28, also believes in the power of an athlete’s platform, but adds that scrutiny is not far behind.

“A lot of people, for some strange reason, don’t understand that before I’m an athlete, I’m a human being. I’m a woman,” she said.

“I’m seeing more athletes using their platform to combat these systems and stand up for what’s right.” The US women’s team is regarded as one of the most socially conscious sporting outfits in the world. Megan Rapinoe first knelt for the national anthem in 2016 in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, and the women’s side endured a long legal battle over equal pay.

Dunn says the team has had “harder and deeper conversations” on making an anti-racism stance.

“We have to start somewhere – if you’re going to call me a team-mate, you have to know what I’m about and everything I’ve experienced as a black woman,” she said.

“It’s been eye-opening for a lot of my team-mates. Can you now fight for someone that may not be you and look like you?”

Football continues to struggle to combat racism, particularly in a climate where players receive racist abuse on social media. Frustrations are constantly growing. Thierry Henry recently removed himself from social media platforms because of the level of bullying and racist abuse he saw happening.

For players like Dunn and Steffen, it is not about will they or won’t they kneel before a match. It is about their determination to ensure the momentum behind the anti-racism drive is not lost.-Online

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