- Carli Lloyd returned to the USWNT for the first time in about a year on MLK day.
- The star striker joined three other starters in standing for the anthem before kick off.
- Fans on social media roasted Lloyd’s decision not to kneel and stating that the USWNT players “stand behind each other no matter what.”
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Carli Lloyd is one of the most lethal, prolific strikers in the history of women’s soccer.
But on Monday â€” Martin Luther King Jr. Day â€” many fans accused the US Women’s National Team star of missing the mark.
Lloyd started in the USWNT’s friendly against Colombia Monday night, her first national team appearance since March of 2020. But before the game kicked off, the 38-year-old generated buzz by standing alongside three of her fellow starters during the national anthem. The other seven starters, including Megan Rapinoe and team captain Becky Sauerbrunn, all took a knee as the “Star-Spangled Banner” played at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida.
After the game, The Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Jonathan Tannenwald asked Lloyd to explain her decision to remain standing for the anthem. The veteran USWNT player first said that she’s been away from the team for quite some time and had “taken herself out of the soccer environment for a little bit.”
“But obviously coming back into this team, I think the beauty of this team is that we stand behind each other no matter what,” Lloyd said. “And, you know, players decided to kneel, some players decided to stand, and at the end of the day, we have each other’s backs.”
“Ultimately, we’re here to support one other in any way that we can,” she added. “And that’s what’s amazing about this team.”
You can watch Lloyd’s full response below:
Here is Carli Lloyd's explanation for standing during the national anthem before yesterday's #USWNT game against Colombia. Shout out to @thegoalkeeper for asking the question: pic.twitter.com/u6uaejPu3A
— Meredith Cash (@mercash22) January 19, 2021
Fans were broadly unimpressed with Lloyd’s explanation, which one Twitter user described as saying “absolutely nothing,” and another argued was “not good enough.”
Weird way to say "Some white players care more about their own feelings/beliefs than showing solidarity and support to their Black teammates" but OK, Carli
— Jen St. Jude ☄️ (@jenstjude) January 19, 2021
Absolute total embarrassment. Every single one of them should have been on their knee. The republican really jumped out!
— Char ????????♀️ (@charlottesleet) January 19, 2021
— manny (@mannyfidel) January 19, 2021
— Sarah Gray (@sarahhhgray) January 19, 2021
Not good enough. Not good enough in this time and space, and not good enough, most importantly, on MLK day. How out of touch can you be? All four of the players who stood (all white btw) should be ashamed of themselves.
— LL (@LauraLjol2) January 19, 2021
All I learned from that answer is that Carly Lloyd doesn't understand the meaning of the words "stand" and "solidarity." And maybe she's also unclear on "behind."
— Paul O'Brien (@DashFanIRL) January 19, 2021
Whether you personally agree or disagree with her, that's qwhite a statement
— Jon Lipsitz (@jonlipsitz) January 19, 2021
Rapinoe famously was the first USWNT star to take a knee. In 2016, when she began kneeling for the anthem, she was one of the first professional athletes â€” and one of the only white ones â€” to kneel in solidarity with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
But in recent months, taking a knee has become much more mainstream throughout the sports world. When the National Women’s Soccer League â€” the domestic league that includes most USWNT players’ clubs â€” became the first professional contact sports game to return in the US since the coronavirus pandemic began,every player kneeled during the national anthem ahead of the Portland Thorns vs. North Carolina Courage season opener.
Across the WNBA, NFL, NBA, and more, players started kneeling fairly regularly. And when the USWNT played against the Netherlands in November â€” the team’s first match since March â€” Julie Ertz and Kelley O’Hara were the lone starters who stood for the anthem.
But on Monday night, even after wearing “Black Lives Matter” warm-up jerseys, Lloyd and midfielder Lindsey Horan joined the duo on their feet. Lynn Williams and Crystal Dunn, both Black women who serve active roles on the newly-formed Black Women’s Player Collective, were kneeling alongside Rapinoe, Sauerbrunn, Sam Mewis, Abby Dahlkemper, and Alyssa Naeher.