Ahead of the opening match of the NWSL Challenge Cup, all starting players on the North Carolina Courage and Portland Thorns FC opted to take a knee during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality in America.
Before the NWSL opener, players took a knee to protest racial injustice, police brutality, and the systemic racism against Black people and people of color in America. #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/jyucjbikHY— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) June 27, 2020
Players from both teams issued a joint statement, saying that “we love our country and we have taken this opportunity to hold it to a higher standard.”
However, there was one member of the North Carolina Courage who opted not to join the teams’ protest.
Not everyone is kneeling tho. pic.twitter.com/H9moFAycGM— Alex Vejar (@AlexVReporting) June 27, 2020
NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick started kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to protest the same issues that NWSL players are calling awareness to today. He was joined by several athletes, including USWNT player Megan Rapinoe, but they were a small minority. In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, more athletes have realized that their voices and solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement can help spark social change.