Chicago Red Stars teammates Julie Ertz and Casey Short said the tough conversations over the past few weeks led to their vulnerability as they shared an emotional embrace when the NWSL kicked off its season with a national anthem.
In the second game of the National Women’s Soccer League Tournament in Utah, she was caught by Ertz before the Chicago match against Washington Spirit on Saturday night.
“Right now, every time we play the national anthem, our country is more divided on what a visual symbol of unity is,” Short and Ertz said in a joint statement released Tuesday. “What we decided to do through our constant conversations was to make sure that it was not an empty gesture. It was a gesture that depicted that we were hearing someone who needed to hear, affirm and love.
“That moment during the anthem is very, very difficult. We are still searching, but we are humbled by the support. “
The short is not available for comment after the match, so the current context is unknown. Teammate Rachel Hill, who also stood on the shoulder during the anthem, was not available for comment after the game.
“Both of us have always come out as our honest and true people, but have struggled to find the” right “thing to do to show our truth. We understand that people deserve their opinions. Often these views are presented through the lens of the person and that’s exactly how we both feel. Don’t shoot, ”said Short and Ertz.
Hill Posted a statement on Instagram Tuesday nightHe said the decision was not easy.
“Before the game, I was completely torn about what to do. I have spoken with friends, family and colleagues – all races, religions and backgrounds – in the hope of guidance, ”Hill wrote. “I have chosen to stand up for my military family and myself because the flag is intrinsic, but I am 100 percent supportive of my peers. I thought, finally, I wanted to be true to myself. ”
The players for the Portland Thorns and North Carolina Courage were folded when they launched the Challenge Cup Tournament during the national anthem on Saturday. Some players, including Hill, chose to stand out as the anthem was played before the final game between the Red Stars and Spirit.
While it is customary for starters to be on the field only during the anthem, all squads of four teams played Tuesday took the field before their games. Most, but not all, knee.
Players and coaches wear black Lives Matter T-shirts in warmups before games, and players also kneel before the kickoffs.
The NWSL Players Association has issued a statement supporting all players, regardless of their decision.
“The Players’ Association supports both the Black Lives Matter and each player making a clear decision on whether to stand or kneel during the national anthem,” the union said. “We want our supporters and the media to respect the right of every player to handle these moments so that our players are united against racism and in support of each other.”
After criticizing some players, the league announced Monday that it would allow players to remain in the locker room during the anthem.
In a statement, NWSL Commissioner Lisa Byrd said in a statement: A league and those principles will push us forward. ”
The Sports League NWSL was the first professional team in the United States to return among the coronavirus pandemic. When the league closed in March, the teams assembled for training camps.
The tournament opener between Thorns and Courage was broadcast nationally on CBS, and the network announced Tuesday’s game to an average of 572,000 viewers, a record for the NWSL.