National Women’s Soccer League players kneel during the national anthem


Players for the Portland Thorns and the North Carolina Courage knelt in the course of the nationwide anthem Saturday when the National Women’s Soccer League opened the Challenge Cup match in Utah.

The gamers wore Black Lives Matter T-shirts in warmups earlier than the sport, which was nationally televised on CBS. In addition to the anthem, the gamers knelt for a second of silence earlier than kickoff.

“We took a knee today to protest racial injustice, police brutality and systemic racism against black people and people of color in America. We love our country and we have taken this opportunity to hold it to a higher standard. It is our duty to demand that the liberties and freedoms this nation was founded upon are extended to everyone,” the Thorns and Courage mentioned in a joint assertion launched earlier than the sport.

The league mentioned Friday that it could play the nationwide anthem earlier than the Challenge Cup video games and that it could assist the gamers in no matter they selected to do.

The NWSL is the primary skilled crew sport within the United States to return amid the coronavirus outbreak. The monthlong Challenge Cup opened Saturday with a pair of video games at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah.

Megan Rapinoe, who performs for OL Reign however opted out of the Challenge Cup, was criticized when she knelt at a NWSL sport and a pair of nationwide crew video games in 2016. She mentioned she wished to precise solidarity with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who took a knee in the course of the anthem to deliver consideration to racial inequality.

In response, U.S. Soccer adopted a rule that required gamers to face. But that rule was repealed earlier this month amid nationwide protests over the loss of life of George Floyd and racial inequity.

Rapinoe voiced her assist for the NWSL gamers Saturday on social media: “You love to see these women using their voice, demanding better for America, and for black people and people of color.”