NWSL: North Carolina Courage, Portland Thorns players take knee during national anthem

Tanya Simon
June 28, 2020

The two National Women's Soccer League teams released a joint statement, demanding that liberties and freedoms that this nation was founded upon be extended to everyone.

The National Women's Soccer League on Saturday in Utah became the first major US -based team sports concern to return to active competition following the shutdown necessitated in March by the COVID-19 pandemic. They are also the first league to play games following the unfortunate killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.

Every player from Republic of Ireland global Denise O'Sullivan's North Carolina Courage and Portland Thorns took a knee during the US national anthem and wore t-shirts with the slogan "Black Lives Matter" prior to their National Women's Soccer League match yesterday.

Players on Saturday also wore "Black Lives Matter" armbands in the game.

Ex-NFL player Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the United States anthem in 2016 in protest against racial injustice.

As players from both teams kneeled, Chicago Red Stars defender Casey Short is consoled by her teammate Julie Ertz.

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Debinha scored the opener for North Carolina in the 75th minute, with Lynn Williams bagging a dramatic late victor in second-half stoppage time after Portland's Simone Charley scored the equalizer in the 80th.

While plans for the return of the NBA, NHL, MLS and Major League Baseball have garnered headlines, the NWSL on Saturday became the first pro team league in action.

"Today is another step in our return", said several players in unison, including USA women's national team players Casey Short, Lindsey Horan and Abby Dahlkemper.

"I'm grateful for everything this country has given me, but I feel the need to support the Black Lives Matter movement because I know this privilege isn't the same for everyone", he said. This is just the start.

Mewis said the teams will continue to call attention to racial injustice throughout the Challenge Cup.

As the national anthem was played by a solo saxophone player at Zions Bank Stadium here, every one of the 11 starters for each team took a knee while wearing BLM T-shirts, which were worn by every player during warmups.

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