There is no Pride without Black and Brown lives. And on Saturday, two soccer players shared a moving moment with their teammates and opponents that speaks volumes about the importance, the significance, the relevance of protests against systemic racism and baked-in injustice.
What better way to honor the Black and Brown women who were a crucial part of the Stonewall uprising 51 years ago, to protest four centuries of discrimination, than this?
Chicago Red Stars teammates Casey Short and Julie Ertz, both members of the USWNT. hugged each other as they along with their teammates and even their North Carolina Courage opponents, took a knee during the national anthem, and during a moment of silence, before the start of Saturday’s NWSL Challenge Cup match.
A powerful, emotional moment between Red Stars teammates Julie Ertz and Casey Short during National Anthem to open their #NWSLChallengeCup @cbschicago pic.twitter.com/KqjHGossDL— Krista Ruch (@KristaCBS2) June 28, 2020
Fans were not in the stands, of course, because of the coronavirus pandemic. But these women were far from alone. Members of the North Carolina Courage and Portland Thorns also knelt when the Star Spangled Banner played.
Not everyone did, but the overwhelming message sent by these four NWSL teams was that Black Lives Matter. Any fans who missed that message only need look at the T-shirts the players wore.
The Courage and Red Stars issued a joint statement about their protest:
“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 protest by the Thorns and Courage was applauded by Megan Rapinoe on Twitter, who herself took a knee until she was ordered to stop by U.S. Soccer. Rapinoe reminded everyone this all started because of Colin Kaepernick, who because of his actions, continues to be denied a place in the sport in which he excelled.
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