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Newcastle United’s USA international DeAndre Yedlin has delivered an emotional and powerful statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement as he expressed his anger at the racism that still divides his homeland.
Yedlin was joined by the rest of his Newcastle teammates in taking the knee before training on Tuesday in a collective display of solidarity with those protesting in the USA following the death of George Floyd in police custody last week.
With many American cities still gripped by violent protests, looting and some heavy-handed police tactics, that have led to thousands of arrests and a number of serious and minor injuries, the USA is in the grip of some of the worst social unrest in a generation.
And Yedlin’s statement captured the mood of many professional sportsmen and women of colour who represent their country on the international stage. The 26-year-old, who moved to England to sign for Tottenham Hotspur before joining Newcastle four years ago, has been capped 62 times by the US national team.
Yedlin wrote on Twitter:
“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 US 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. He was born in 1946, lived through the civil rights movement, lived through some terribly racist times in US. history.
“And now 70 years later he STILL fears for the life of his black grandchild, in the country he and his grandchild were born in, in the country his grandchild represents when he plays for the United States, in the country his grandchild represents when he’s playing in England.
“I remember being in elementary school, and having to recite the Pledge of Allegiance which ends with liberty and justice for all.” Every American needs to ask themselves, is there “liberty and justice for all” and if their answer is yes, then they are part of the problem.
“In no way are we asking black lives to matter more than white lives, all we’re asking is we are seen as equal, as more than 3/5 of a man, as humans. My heart goes out in solidarity to George Floyd, his family, and all of the countless number of victims that have had their lives taken at the hands of meaningless police brutality.”