US Women's National Soccer Player Crystal Dunn Says She Doesn't Get The Same Shine As Her White Teammates
Although soccer is a white-dominated sport, Crystal Dunn says she wants to be the face of it.
July 22, 2021 at 9:32 pm
Soccer player Crystal Dunn, 29, who will be competing alongside her teammates on the U.S. women’s national soccer team in the Tokyo Olympic Games this summer told The Undefeated that she feels unappreciated.
“I feel like someone has dimmed my light in a sense,” Dunn said.
The two-time Olympian has been very successful in her career. Since 2013, she has played intermittently for the U.S. women’s soccer team and in 2019 she helped the team win the Women’s World Cup, as Blavity previously reported. She is one of two Black players on the team.
Dunn who is ranked as the sixth-best soccer player in the world, says she doesn’t get the recognition she deserves on or off the field, ESPN reported. To date, Dunn has not received the national attention that some of her teammates have gained.
Carli Lloyd, Dunn's teammate who serves as the co-captain of the U.S. women’s national team, has appeared on a 2015 cover of Sports Illustrated along with Alex Morgan and other white teammates following a World Cup victory. During the 2015 tournament, Lloyd scored six times and was awarded the Golden Boot which is given to the player who performs the best during the competition, The Guardian reported.
Megan Rapinoe, another U.S. women's soccer team player, is well known in the sports community. Rapinoe is one of the top soccer players in the world and is known for being outspoken about issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community, equal pay for male and female athletes and she's voiced opposition to policies brought forth by figures like Donald Trump. She was awarded the Golden Boot as well for her performance during the 2021 World Cup Final, Newsweek reported.
After seeing how her teammates have been treated throughout the years, Dunn told The Undefeated that she believes being a dark-skinned African-American woman has stopped her from gaining the spotlight and from being treated like her white teammates.
“Whenever there was a photo shoot, it was always a struggle for me to feel comfortable speaking to someone who’s doing my hair and makeup, which is something a lot of my teammates don’t understand,” Dunn said.
“They take it for granted that they just get set up with someone who does their hair and makeup," the New York native added.
The New York native believes over the years she has received the short end of the stick. She said she receives less publicity than other soccer players and even lands less endorsement deals and sponsorships which results in a smaller income.
Dunn feels being a Black woman in a white dominated industry prevents her from being her “most authentic self."
“I think as Black women we can get caught up in straight hair and straight ponies. That’s how we can kind of become marketable,” Dunn said.
“I think as a woman of color on this team, especially a dark-skinned woman, I’ve always felt pressure,” she continued.
Earlier this year, Dunn spoke with Forbes Magazine and stated that although she is recognized as a soccer player on the national team, she desires more.
“With my versatility and being one of the few Black women on the U.S. Women’s National Team, what I would have loved to see happen earlier, which I still hope will happen, is to be recognized as a face of women’s soccer,” Dunn said.
"I would like to see shift in the whole idea that this sport is predominantly White or that it is a White person’s face that is the face of women’s soccer," she continued. "I have earned the right to be posterized and be a part of huge campaigns and lead the way for women’s soccer and not feel like I am just a player.”
Dunn is one of two Black players on the team, the other being Adrianna Franch, who has been said to be a victim of racial heckling while on the field.
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