McKennie sported an armband that read "Justice For George" last season at Schalke following George Floyd's death in May after a Minnesota police officer kneeled on his neck for more than seven minutes. The incident sparked worldwide protests in support of Black Lives Matter.
in a video tweeted Monday by Juventus, McKennie highlighted the racial discrimination he has experienced in the United States and in Italy following the 22-year-old Texas-born midfielder's move to the Serie A giants in the summer.
"This year, at the beginning of the season, we played and the fans after the game were making monkey noises at me," McKennie said.
He added, "I went back home to Dallas and I'm afraid to drive at night just because I don't know what's going to happen if I get pulled over. I'm representing a country that possibly doesn't even accept me just for the color of my skin.
"It's definitely a bit heartbreaking," McKennie continued. "When I wore the armband, I felt it was a duty and a responsibility: one, being American, and two, being a Black American. I just felt a need to bring awareness overseas. I got a lot of support from it. I also got hate from it."
McKennie, Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho, and Borussia Monchengladbach's Marcus Thuram were among several Bundesliga stars to show support for Floyd when the German top flight became the first major league to return from a work stoppage in mid-May.
"'You're a soccer player, you shouldn't be making political statements,' and I'm just thinking in my head: 'I don't see how this is a political statement at all.' A person lost their life; I'm not going to shut up and dribble. I'm not going to make my opinions small just because people believe that I should just play soccer," McKennie said.
"I don't want to be just known as a great soccer player. I want to be known as a great human being, as a great person, and that's what I am starting to try and do: to create my legacy, this version of me that I love."