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Why did the US Women Team play the shirt in reverse?

The women's soccer team is just the latest example of protest in the American sports world

Why did the US Women Team play the shirt in reverse? The women's soccer team is just the latest example of protest in the American sports world

After the recent comments made by the US Soccer Team regarding the women's team's request for equal pay, a series of chain reactions followed which led to the resignation of the federal president.

Let's take a step back: last week the judicial documents revealed some of the arguments on which the Soccer Federation was based to argue that the players do not deserve the same pay as the men. Among the claims there is talk of "biological differences" that are said to prove that the men's team "requires a higher level of skill" and that "the work of a male team has more responsibility within the United States than in work." of a female ".

Megan Rapinoe and the rest of the women's team were certainly not watching: two days ago, on March 11th, the team played a game of SheBelievesCup and chose to take the field wearing the reverse warm-up shirts during the hymn national team, hiding the logo of the American federation in protest. "We just wanted to do something to show solidarity not only to ourselves but also to all those little girls who were told they are inferior to men," said Rapinoe. Nevertheless, every time the American women's national team enters the field, it shows everyone the 4 stars that represent the four World Cup titles, putting the human aspect in the background compared to the purely sports one. "What we do on the field I think is powerful and stimulating for every human being, but the only thing that is truly visible are our successes [the stars] that do not justify this type of treatment. We want to show that that type of language is absolutely unacceptable''.

It seems, however, that this gesture of protest has not been noticed - and understood - by most until the president of the American football federation Carlos Cordeiro presented apologies that, evidently, were not enough to appease the hearts: today Carlos Cordeiro resigned justifying the his mistakes through a letter also published on Twitter.

The protest carried out by Rapinoe & co. it is only the latest in a long series in American sports, where, moreover, the problems of abuse towards the African American community have always been a topic of discussion. Here are other historical manifestations of dissent in front of the stands that have left an indelible mark on the history of sport:


Starting in 2016, the 49ers quarterback, NFL team, began to kneel during the American national anthem in protest against the injustices and oppressions suffered by the black minority in the United States, a gesture adopted by numerous other players generating discussions and controversy, in which the President of the United States Donald Trump also intervened declaring that whoever refuses to honor the anthem "should be fired". No sooner said than done: Colin Kaepernick has been without a team since 2017 and could only start playing again this year.



October 16, 1968, Mexico City Olympics: athletes in first and third place on the podium of the men's 200 meters, Smith and Carlos, raise their fists with a black glove, in protest against the violation of African American rights. It is the year in which Martin Luther King and Bob Kennedy are murdered. Smith and Carlos are barefoot, symbolizing poverty, and the small stones that Carlos wears around his neck represent the lives of lynched black Americans because they fought for freedom.



A protest outside the ring that had repercussions for years, transforming a boxer into a symbol of civil struggle: in 1967 Muhammad Ali, three-year heavyweight champion of the world, refused to enlist to fight the Vietnam War in his own war against the overwhelming power of the whites. He was arrested, tried for drafting and deprived of his title. For the next four years he was unable to compete, but in 1971 the United States Supreme Court overturned the sentence in order to start fighting again.



In 1996 the gesture of the Denver NBA player (also seen in our Serie A in Roseto in the 2004-2005 season), born Chris Jackson, who remained in the locker room during the performance of the American anthem that he considered "a symbol of oppression ". Later the athlete got to pray rather than sing during the national anthem.



In recent years many sportsmen have shown their solidarity with the Black Lives Matters, a movement in support of the African American community. In 2014, LeBron James and other NBA stars, such as Kyrie Irving, Kevin Garnett, Carmelo Anthony and Dwayne Wade, wore a t-shirt - not approved by the NBA - with the words "I Can't Breathe" on warm-up to give voice to the last words of Eric Garner, African American killed with a squeeze in the throat by a policeman in Staten Island, New York. LeBron and other African American stars never spared themselves in the fight against racial discrimination, targeting Donald Trump and the US Administration on social media.



In 2014, during the NCAA women's basketball championship, Smith made headlines for raising her arms during the hymn and lying down to the audience where she lay for 4 minutes in protest over the murder of Michael Brown, eighteen year old African American killed by American police in Ferguson, Missouri.