MLS Stars Take Part In Powerful Eight Minute Black Lives Matter Protest
Last night saw the return of MLS with over 100 players taking part in a powerful eight minute Black Lives Matter protest prior to kick-off.
Orlando City and Inter Miami took part in the first game in America since football's suspension four months ago and remarkable scenes followed.
Both sides took to the Exploria Stadium with players wearing a single black glove, face masks and t-shirts in support of the movement.
Joining them were other players from across the league who stood around the two teams prior to kick-off.
What followed was an uninterrupted eight minutes and 46 seconds protest - the same amount of time white police officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on the neck of George Floyd.
Standing in solidarity with @BPCMLS. :fist::fist::fist:#BlackLivesMatter ' #MLSisBlack pic.twitter.com/MCooMu9aER
- Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 9, 2020
MLS players from across the league stood together for a Black Lives Matter demonstration prior to Orlando City vs. Inter Miami. pic.twitter.com/4wszNbCUG3- ESPN (@espn) July 9, 2020
MLS is not playing National Anthem during prematch. Thats a hell of a statement. #MLSisBack- Larry Henry Jr (@lhenry019) July 9, 2020
Messages on players shirts included "Silence is Violence," "Black All The Time," as well as "Black and Proud."
The footballing world has united to combat racism following the incident, with Premier League players taking a knee prior to every game since the restart.
Toronto FC defender Justin Morrow, executive director of the Black Players for Change organisation, explained per CNN that MLS players wanted to use their platform for change.
"This is a chance for us to take our place with them, stand up against racial inequality, fight that battle and make sure our voices in Major League Soccer are heard.
"What you saw tonight was a special moment that was driven by the players, and Major League Soccer collaborated with us to make that happen."
On the pitch, Orlando picked up a 2-1 victory in the MLS is Back Tournament following a last minute winner from former Manchester United winger Nani.
Miami striker Juan Agudelo spoke of the protests in a post-match interview and described them as "emotional."
"It was very emotional at the beginning. It was beautiful to see all the players come together on the field like that as one," the US international stated per ESPN.
"Being on the field, it was very powerful. I put my fist up, and to be there with so many people that are trying to make a change in this country, and that's what we need to do -- not even for us but for our kids -- kind of evolve as humans."
Featured Image Credit: MLS/Twitter