Robbie Jay Barratt/AMA/Getty
Players from Iran's national soccer team made a political statement before a World Cup warm-up match on Tuesday.
In a message to their country, Iranian team's entire roster took the field for their game against Senegal in black jackets, which pointedly covered up their nation's emblem on their jerseys during the national anthem.
The team's statement comes as the country continues to see civil unrest in response to the death of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old citizen who died under police custody. Amini was arrested earlier this month when law enforcement found her not wearing a hijab. She died after being transported to Tehran's Vozara Detention Center. Police maintain that Amini's death was caused by a heart attack she had suffered.
However, Amini's family, as well as United Nations experts, believe she died after authorities beat and tortured her, per Newsweek. Protests and demonstrations have since broken out across the country.
None of the players or staff from Iran's national team have made statements regarding the situation to the media since the match, but several members of the team have addressed the topic on social media. "My heart really broke for Mahsa Amini and the likes of Mahsa Amini who are innocent of this," team forward Sardar Azmoun wrote in Iranian on Instagram.
Additionally, Azmoun acknowledged the risk he and his teammates took when they spoke out against the country. "At worst I'll be dismissed from the national team," he wrote. "No problem. I'd sacrifice that for one hair on the heads of Iranian women. This story will not be deleted. They can do whatever they want."
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Another team competing in the 2022 World Cup, Denmark, will also use their jerseys to make a statement. BBC reported that Denmark's team has decided to wear a "toned down" version of their regular jerseys in protest against host country Qatar's human rights failures and poor treatment of migrant workers, specifically at World Cup facilities.
Hummel, Denmark's sportswear manufacturer, stated, "We wish to make a statement about Qatar's human rights record and its treatment of the migrant workers that have built the country's World Cup stadiums." The company added that the new look will represent "the color of mourning."
Hummel said that although it will continue to support the Danish national team, Hummel "does not wish to be visible" during the World Cup, alleging that the tournament "has cost thousands of lives."