Jun 17, 2020 - Sports

Players and referees take knee at start of Premier League's first game back

At the opening whistle of the English Premier League's first game since the coronavirus forced teams to take a 100-day hiatus, referees and players from Aston Villa and Sheffield United took a knee for 10 seconds to express support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

The big picture: The police killing of George Floyd in the U.S. has sparked an international movement as protesters demand their governments address systemic racism and confront their history as former colonizers.

  • European soccer leagues are no stranger to racism, as 2019 saw multiple incidents of fans making racist gestures or chants towards players of color, ABC News notes.
  • With the support of the Premier League, the players also wore jerseys that had the words "Black Lives Matter" instead of their last names.

What they're saying: "Aston Villa and Sheffield United were proud to stand in solidarity with the actions of the players and coaching staff of both football clubs during the first ten seconds of tonight’s Premier League fixture, expressing our collective support for the Black Lives Matter movement," Aston Villa's club account tweeted.

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