Opposing team members surrounded a soccer player whose hijab came off, and it's fabulous
True acts of sportsmanship are always a delight to see. And a video shared by ESPN that captured a beautiful moment from a women's soccer match is no exception.
In a WAFF Women's Club Championship match between Jordan's Shabab al Ordon Club and Arab Orthodox Club that took place last October, a Muslim player from the latter team had a minor collision with another player that partially removed her hijab.
For women who cover their hair with the hijab, it is an expression of faith and symbol of modesty. For a hijabi woman to be seen in public without that covering is to feel inappropriately exposed.
The players on the opposing team didn't wear hijab themselves, but they immediately recognized the potential embarrassment of the player. As soon as they saw her kneel down to replace her head covering, players from Shabab al Ordon Club started gathering around her, signaling their teammates to come and form a shield around her while she put everything back into place. It was a spontaneous act, clearly born of understanding, empathy, and respect. Even though those players did not practice the same custom, and even though it wasn't even their own teammate, they supported this woman's adherence to her faith tradition without hesitation and gave her the privacy she needed in the moment.
Watch how quickly the players came to her rescue:
Responses to the video have been largely positive. Some of the comments on the ESPN video include:
"Perfect example of respecting someone's beliefs even if they aren't yours. Kudos to them…"
"I don't understand why it is important. But the fact is, I don't need to understand it to respect it. That was an amazing show of respect."
"The character and sportsmanship of these athletes is awe inspiring. Freedom of religion isn't just for Christianity, but for all religions. Kudos."
"Wow...beautiful. That is a demonstration on how to appreciate and respect differences. These young girls are leading the way. Fantastic!"
"If only the world were like this, where we all respected and appreciated one other's differences. I don't have to believe what you believe to respect you and your right to have that belief. Awesome moment."
Some things are bigger than sports. What a wonderful example these women set for the world. Kudos, indeed.