HomeNews‘I represent a country that doesn’t accept me’ – USMNT’s McKennie refuses to ‘shut up and dribble’ in face of racial inequality
‘I represent a country that doesn’t accept me’ – USMNT’s McKennie refuses to ‘shut up and dribble’ in face of racial inequality
October 13, 2020
Juventus and U.S. men’s national team star Weston McKennie says that he feels like he plays for a country that doesn’t accept him due to the color of his skin.
McKennie donned an armband that read “Justice for George” while playing for former clubSchalke and later said that he saw it as his “responsibility and duty” to speak out.
The 22-year-old midfielder also took aim at President Donald Trump, saying that he believes the Commander in Chief is both “racist” and “ignorant”.
And, in an adidas advertisement released on Monday, McKennie once again discussed his feelings on race in America, saying that he wants his legacy to be about more than just what he did on a soccer field.
“This year, at the beginning of the season, we played and the fans after the game were making monkey noises at me,” McKennie said. “It’s devastating.
“I went back home to Dallas and I’m afraid to drive at night just because I don’t know what’s going to happen if I get pulled over. I’m representing a country that possibly doesn’t even accept me just for the color of my skin.
“It’s definitely a bit heartbreaking. When I wore the armband, I felt it was a duty and a responsibility: one being American and two being a Black American. I just felt a need to bring awareness overseas. I got a lot of support from it. I also got hate from it.
“‘You’re a soccer player, you shouldn’t be making political statements,’ and I’m just thinking in my head: ‘I don’t see how this is a political statement at all.’
“A person lost their life, I’m not going to shut up and dribble. I’m not going to make my opinions small just because people believe that I should just play soccer.
“I don’t want to be just known as a great soccer player. I want to be known as a great human being, as a great person and that is what I am starting to try and do; to create my legacy. This version of me that I love.”
McKennie completed a move to Juventus this summer, joining the Italian giants on a one-year loan deal with an €18.5m (£16.5m/$22m) purchase option plus up to €7m in bonuses if certain performance-related clauses are met.
The midfielder had already made two appearances for the club this season ahead of this weekend’s match with Crotone.