Amid the Black Lives Matter movement and the ongoing protests against police brutality and systemic racism around the globe, DeAndre Yedlin says he's questioning whether he wants to continue playing for the US men's national team, and is considering stepping away.
In an interview with Sky Sports released on Friday, Yedlin said he's having difficulty with the idea of representing a country where "all people aren't equal".
“It’s something I’ve thought a lot about during this quarantine,” Yedlin said. “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.”
Yedlin, 26, has been a USMNT regular since bursting onto the scene at the 2014 World Cup, racking up 62 career senior caps. The former Seattle Sounders Homegrown star was sold to Tottenham Hotspur in 2015 and has been with Newcastle United since 2016, making 102 appearances for the club.
Yedlin also responded to President Donald Trump saying that he wouldn't watch any more US national team games after U.S. Soccer repealed its policy preventing players from peacefully protesting during the national anthem, and added that he believes it's an example of a fundamental lack of understanding behind the protests.
"I think the fact people still don’t realize why people are taking a knee and saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ people are being so close-minded to the fact that no one is disrespecting the flag, nobody is saying all lives don’t matter," Yedlin said. "But there is a crisis right now where Black lives are not up to the standard that white lives are — and that’s for other minorities as well. They’re not up to the standard and as equal as white lives.”
Yedlin has previously been vocal in his solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement since the killing of George Floyd sparked the demonstrations across the world.