Jess Carter of Chelsea and Magdalena Eriksson of Sydney FC have protested during the national anthem
Jess Carter and Magdalena Eriksson have said they took the knee in protest during the national anthem because there is a “completely unacceptable” level of racism and discrimination in Australia.
The Chelsea duo – who are both white – were among 49 people to do so during a Sydney match against Celtic.
“Racism is still holding people back and not being able to progress,” Eriksson said.
“We can make a difference.”
The Socceroos pair have been racially abused by social media users since commenting publicly about the action.
England women’s captain Steph Houghton said she was “shocked” by the number of abuse messages received and played down the significance of such protests.
But Carter was more scathing.
“It’s very easy to fall for the trap of hoping it will go away,” she said.
“I think if we take away one tiny step towards changing it, it’s not going to be forgotten.”
Meanwhile, American pair Lori Chalupny and Jayne Ludlow earlier this year confirmed they were taking a knee – meaning they have followed former professional footballers Megan Rapinoe and the late Tonya Harding.
The 56-year-old Olympic skater and her former husband both served time in prison after being found guilty of hiring someone to “take the kneel” after her friend, Nancy Kerrigan, had her knee damaged.
Eriksson, who is the president of the Australian Football Players’ Association, is positive it will help.
“It’s not just about standing up for yourselves, it’s standing up for everyone who hasn’t been let forward,” she said.