Women’s soccer team echoes NFL protests against police brutality

October 13, 2017

In a demonstration meant to reflect the NFL protests that have sparked national controversy in recent weeks, the Brandeis women’s soccer team held hands during the singing of the national anthem before their home game against Carnegie Mellon on Tuesday.

A less controversial statement than kneeling during the National Anthem, goalkeeper Sierra Dana ’20 and forward Minjee Lee ’19 told The Brandeis Hoot that they chose to hold hands rather than kneel in order to keep the conversation focused on issues such as police shootings of unarmed black men and racism instead of on disrespect for the flag.

The women’s soccer team linked arms front to back before their homecoming game.

During the national anthem the Brandeis team was arranged in two lines. The starting lineup stood in one life halfway between the spectators and the benches while the rest of the players stood at the benches on the far side of the field from the crowd. Players aligned front to back to face the flag, and each player held hands with the player in front of them and behind them.

The women’s soccer coaches were supportive of any actions the players wanted to take, according to Lee.

In addition to holding hands during the national anthem, the women’s soccer team arranged for a moment of silence to “think of those whose lives have been impacted and stand with us in solidarity as we hope for peace” in “challenging times,” according to the announcer who called for the moment of silence on Tuesday. A similar moment of silence was held before the men’s game against Carnegie Mellon earlier Saturday morning.

Players in the National Football League kneeling during the National Anthem has led some, including President Donald Trump, to criticize their actions as unpatriotic and disrespectful to the flag. Colin Kaepernick was the first NFL player to spark controversy when, in 2016, he chose not to stand for the playing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” as an act of protest against police shootings of unarmed black men. One weekend in September, AP counted 102 players kneeling or sitting during NFL games.

Other NFL players have chosen to lock arms during the anthem to show support without raising controversy about disrespecting the flag. The protests have spread to other professional and high-school level sports, including members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team.

Dana said that she hopes to continue demonstrations throughout the season, especially during home games.

This weekend was Homecoming weekend at Brandeis, drawing above average crowds of spectators to Brandeis sports, and a more impactful opportunity to send a message to students and alumni alike.

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