Gamers for the Portland Thorns and the North Carolina Braveness took a knee throughout the nationwide anthem Saturday when the Nationwide Ladies’s Soccer League opened the Problem Cup event in Utah.
The gamers wore Black Lives Matter T-shirts in warmups earlier than the sport, which was nationally televised on CBS. Along with the anthem, the gamers knelt for a second of silence earlier than kickoff.
“We took a knee as we speak to protest racial injustice, police brutality and systemic racism in opposition to black folks and folks of color in America,” the Thorns and Braveness stated in a joint assertion launched earlier than the sport. “We love our nation and we’ve got taken this chance to carry it to a better commonplace. It’s our responsibility to demand that the liberties and freedoms this nation was based upon are prolonged to everybody,”
The league stated Friday that it might play the nationwide anthem earlier than the Problem Cup video games and that it might assist the gamers in no matter they selected to do.
The NWSL is the primary skilled workforce sport in america to return amid the coronavirus outbreak. The month-long Problem Cup opened Saturday with a pair of video games at Zions Financial institution Stadium in Herriman.
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Megan Rapinoe, who performs for OL Reign however opted out of the Problem Cup, was criticized when she knelt at a NWSL recreation and a pair of nationwide workforce video games in 2016.
She stated she wished to specific solidarity with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who took a knee throughout the anthem to convey consideration to racial inequality.
In response, U.S. Soccer adopted a rule that required gamers to face. However that rule was repealed earlier this month amid nationwide protests over the demise of George Floyd and racial inequity.
Rapinoe voiced her assist for the NWSL gamers Saturday on social media: “You like to see these girls utilizing their voice, demanding higher for America, and for black folks and folks of color.”