DeAndre Yedlin: Newcastle defender considering US career because 'people aren't equal'

June 19, 2020

Newcastle defender DeAndre Yedlin says he has considered quitting the United States national team because it would be hard to represent a country "where all people aren't equal".

Yedlin, who has 62 caps for the US, says he "completely agrees" with messages he recently revealed from his grandfather telling him their country is not a safe place for a young black man.

As protests have continued across the world since George Floyd's death in police custody in Minneapolis, former Tottenham right-back Yedlin says his grandfather's words will stay with him "until change happens".

"He was born in 1946 so the Jim Crow laws were still in place, he lived in the civil rights movement," Yedlin tells Sky Sports. "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."

The 26-year-old - who has African-American, Native-American and Jewish-Latvian heritage - admits it has led him to doubt whether he should continue representing his country.

"It's something I've thought a lot about during this quarantine," he says. "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."

'No one is disrespecting the flag'

Donald Trump has said he will no longer watch the US national teams after a 2017 policy requiring players to stand during the anthem was repealed.

It was introduced after US women's player Megan Rapinoe knelt in solidarity with the peaceful protest inspired by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was protesting police brutality and racial injustice.

"The fact that he [Donald Trump] said that is sad because obviously he does have a platform, for some reason people do listen to him," says Yedlin.

"But honestly I couldn't care less if he watches the games, I really don't care.

"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. They're not up to the standard and as equal as white lives."

Yedlin believes the Premier League's decision to replace all players' names with 'Black Lives Matter' will send a powerful message from "the world's sport".

"If kids start seeing it on the back of players' jerseys they start raising questions," he says.

"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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