DeAndre Yedlin admits he has considered quitting the US national team as he waits to see ‘change’


DeAndre Yedlin has announced he is contemplating quitting the USA national team due to racial inequalities in his home country.

The Newcastle United defender, 26, has African-American, Native-American and Jewish-Latvian heritage but has been appalled by the prejudice placed against black people back home in America amid the death of George Floyd in Minnesota at the end of May. 

And despite being pleased about Premier League’s support to the Black Lives Matter movement that has arisen following Mr Floyd’s death, Yedlin has questioned whether he wants to carry on representing his country if there is no change in sight.

Newcastle defender De Andre Yedlin revealed he is considering quitting the US national team

Newcastle defender De Andre Yedlin revealed he is considering quitting the US national team

Yedlin is appalled at the lack of racial equality in America after the death of George Floyd

Yedlin is appalled at the lack of racial equality in America after the death of George Floyd 

Speaking about quitting the USA national team, Yedlin told Sky Sports: ‘It’s something I’ve thought a lot about during this quarantine. 

‘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.’

Mr Floyd was killed on May 25 during an arrest where white police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled down on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

His death have sparked protests not only in America but across the world, including in UK cities such as London, Manchester and Cardiff.  

Defender Yedlin (above) has African-American, Native-American and Jewish-Latvian heritage

Defender Yedlin (above) has African-American, Native-American and Jewish-Latvian heritage

George Floyd's death in May sparked the 'Black Lives Matter' movement across the world

George Floyd’s death in May sparked the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement across the world

Yedlin (right) believes he could struggle to represent a country where all people are not equal

Yedlin (right) believes he could struggle to represent a country where all people are not equal

Yedlin’s grandfather has been a major influence on the right-back and the 26-year-old revealed he has been thinking of his ancestor’s past in recent weeks.

Earlier this month, the defender tweeted a message that his grandfather sent to him in the wake of Mr Floyd’s death, with his ancestor saying he was ‘glad that I am not living in the U.S. right now because he would fear for my life as a young black man’.

These words have had a strong impact on Yedlin, who has drawn comparisons between his grandfather’s life and his own. 

The footballer added: ‘He was born in 1946 so the Jim Crow laws were still in place, he lived in the civil rights movement.

‘To now say 60 or 70 years later that he fears for his grandson’s safety and life – it’s crazy when you think about it.’  

American athletes have been campaigning for equality across many levels over the last few years.

Peaceful protests in the USA, such as one by Colin Kaepernick (middle), took place in 2017

Peaceful protests in the USA, such as one by Colin Kaepernick (middle), took place in 2017

After NFL player Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful protest against police brutality in 2017, US President Donald Trump tried to push through a policy which would require athletes to stand during the national anthem.

The proposed rule was rejected and President Trump has since said he will not longer watch Team USA in major sporting events.

Yedlin admitted he ‘doesn’t care’ if the President no longer watches the US national team on the international sporting stage, as taking a knee does not mean atheletes are not disrespecting the US flag. 

He said: ‘I think the fact people still don’t realise 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.

‘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.’ 

Since the Premier League returned on Wednesday, England’s top-flight has been making a considerable effort to show its support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Premier League has been showing its support to the Black Lives Matter movement

The Premier League has been showing its support to the Black Lives Matter movement

Every top-flight player so far has taken a knee before each game in solidarity for the movement

Every top-flight player so far has taken a knee before each game in solidarity for the movement

Not only has every player taken a knee in solidarity for the movement, but their shirt name have been replaced with the words ‘Black Lives Matter’ for the first twelve matchdays of Project Restart.

Yedlin believes this can have a profound impact on people’s perceptions of racial standards, saying: ‘If kids start seeing it on the back of players’ jerseys they start raising questions.’

‘That’s when you 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.

‘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.’

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