US Women’s football team striker, Crystal Dunn, has admitted fear and worry that her career would have been affected if she had joined teammate Megan Rapinoe in kneeling during national anthem in protest at racism and police brutality.
Dunn, a member of the North Carolina Courage, was the 2015 NWSL Most Valuable Player and has been named to the league’s Best XI twice.
She has earned over 100 caps while earning a spot on the World Cup-winning squad in 2019.
Dunn said she felt “joy” when teammate Megan Rapinoe decided to kneel as a form of protest, but admitted that she didn’t feel comfortable doing so herself as she feared for her future.
In 2016 team captain Rapinoe was the only squad player that kneeled in solidarity with NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who began doing so during the national anthem as a form of protest.
Her actions made U.S. Soccer rule that players must stand during the national anthem.
That rule has since been repealed amid ongoing protests and discussions of racism and police brutality in American society following the death of George Floyd, with President Donald Trump specifically calling out the federation for that decision.
Trump said he would not be watching if American players decided to kneel, with Florida senator Matt Gaetz stating that he believes that all national team players should be required to stand for the anthem.
Dunn speaking to Bleacher Report has now revealed why she didn’t join Rapinoe in kneeling.
“I just remember our conversation where she came up to me and said, “Crys, I’m thinking of kneeling’,” Dunn recalled, “and I remember being just filled with so much joy for her wanting to fight a cause that, in my opinion at that time was like, ‘You have nothing to do with this’.
“That was ignorant on my part just thinking that off the bat. I was just so moved that she wanted to fight for this cause.
“I also remember telling her that I had to stand because I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m scared for my job. I’m scared that it’s going to look differently if a black girl on the team kneels and I don’t know.
“I just had really hard conversations with her, how I was internally conflicted and saw the way U.S. Soccer responded and treated Megan. To me, I’m thinking they kept her out of some games, kept her out of camp, and yeah that was mad, but for me, I was thinking that they could rip up my contract.”