DeAndre Yedlin has been speaking out on his experiences as a black American in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. However, recent comments in an interview with Sky Sports indicate is reconsidering his future with the United States Men’s National Team as a result.
“It’s something I’ve thought a lot about during this quarantine,” he said to Sky Sports. “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.”
Yedlin went on to comment, “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 has expressed the fear he has to live in world full of racism many times throughout his career, but it was a tweet that he made on June 2nd that got a lot of traction as he recounted his grandfather’s feeling that he was safer outside of the United States.
A couple days after George Floyd’s death, my grandfather texted me and told me he’s glad that I am not living in the U.S. right now because he would fear for my life as a young black man. As days have passed, this text from my grandfather has not been able to leave my mind.— DeAndre Yedlin (@yedlinny) June 2, 2020
Yedlin says he thinks the Premier League’s decision to replace all players’ names with “Black Lives Matter” on their jerseys this weekend is a message that will “start raising conversation, educating, and that’s the most important thing, that our youth is educated on these issues and how to bring forth change.” He adds that “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.”
The social activism by black players has always been present, but the focus on it has increased in the past few weeks with the reigniting of the movement calling attention to the racial injustice black people face in America. Earlier today, black players in Major League Soccer announced the formation of the Black Players Coalition of MLS, which seeks to “address the racial inequalities in our league, stand with all those fighting racism in the world of soccer, and positively impact black communities across the United States and Canada.”
Yedlin’s Newcastle hosts Sheffield United on Sunday, and Yedlin, like every other player, will have “Black Lives Matter” on his back instead of his last name, along with a Black Lives Matter patch replacing the Premier League patch and a NHS patch on the front chest to honor England’s frontline healthcare workers. Yedlin, on the gesture the Premier League is making with the jerseys, said, “I’m very happy the Premier League is taking that stance and, as a young African American playing in the Premier League, it’s been great to see.”