During the national anthem, North Carolina Courage and Portland Thorns FC players knelt at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah while wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts.
“We knelt today to protest racial injustice, police brutality and systemic racism against blacks and people of color in America,” the players of both said the teams in an online statement.
“We love our country and have used this opportunity to raise it to a higher standard. It is our duty to demand that the freedoms and freedoms on which this nation is based be extended to all.”
Saturday’s game kicked off a shortened 30-day league tournament called the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup, a shift from the regularly planned full season, which typically runs from April to October, and all nine teams are scheduled to play 24 seasons of the season.
In a tweet, NWSL said, “In case you haven’t heard, #BlackLivesMatter.”
Protests against racism and police brutality have taken place across the country in recent weeks following the deaths of Breon Taylor, George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks. As the sports sequel continues this summer, people are watching to see how athletes react to national outrage once they step on the field.
Some athletes have been kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality since former San Francisco 49ers striker Colin Kaepernick launched the movement in 2016.
Some of the biggest NWSL stars love it Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd will not participate in the tournament. Lloyd gave up the tournament after a minor left knee injury, He said Sky Blue FC in an online statement.
In a support tweet, Rapinoe said, “You love to see it. You love to see these women use their voice, looking for better than America and blacks and people of color.”
North Carolina Courage won the game 2-1.
Nwsl The Challenge Cup continues Saturday at 10 p.m. ET with Chicago Red Stars against Washington Spirit.
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