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The National Women’s Soccer League became the first North American team sport to resume play on Saturday with a game between the North Carolina Courage and Portland Thorns, and they used their network television debut to make a powerful statement about racism and equality.
Before the opening whistle of the NWSL Challenge Cup, all Courage and Thorns players kneeled during the national anthem.
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) June 27, 2020
All players and coaches were also wearing Black Lives Matter shirts during warmups, and numerous players wore Black Lives Matter armbands during the game itself.
— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) June 27, 2020
— NC Courage (@TheNCCourage) June 27, 2020
Megan Rapinoe, who has opted out of the NWSL Challenge Cup, tweeted how proud she was to see her fellow players making such an anti-racism statement.
You love to see it. You love to see these women using their voice, demanding better for America, and for black people and people of color. @TheNCCourage and @ThornsFC kneeling in solidarity with @Kaepernick7 and @Blklivesmatter ✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿 pic.twitter.com/8Urlj5FMPn
— Megan Rapinoe (@mPinoe) June 27, 2020
— NWSL (@NWSL) June 27, 2020
Once players took the field, the Black Lives Matter shirts were replaced by Black Lives Matter armbands. Before play officially began, they held a moment of silence in recognition of the lives lost to police brutality and the ongoing fight against systemic racism. Players were in position on the field, and they again took a knee.
Every player on the field and on the sidelines taking a knee during a moment of silence in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter, protesting systemic racism. #NWSLChallengeCup
— Mike Murphy (@DigDeepBSB) June 27, 2020
Just before the game began, the Courage and Thorns released a joint statement.
Saturday is a big day for the NWSL. There are so many eyes on the league, some for the first time ever. Faced with a large audience and increased attention, the players used this opportunity to show everyone where they stand: against racism and inequality.
The NWSL’s Challenge Cup game ended with a thrill. The Courage beat the Thorns 2-1, with all three goals coming in the final 20 minutes of the match.
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