Sacramento Republic FC released a photo and a message on social media Wednesday, with players and staff taking a knee during a training session at Papa Murphy’s Park around the (for now imaginary) center circle in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The image evokes one produced by Liverpool FC earlier this week, when players agreed to take a knee as a team in support of Black Lives Matter and widely shared on social media.
The symbolic gesture comes in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd last week, an African American man stopped by police. One of the now-former police officers involved pinned Floyd in the neck on the ground by the knee until he died. His death has subsequently unleashed nightly protests around the country and world, including in Sacramento, meant to bring police violence and systemic racism to the forefront and transform society for the better.
The symbolism behind the kneel is also important to note. Colin Kaepernick knelt during the National Anthem while a member of the San Francisco 49ers, leading to a movement of players doing similar acts around the league and other sports, to protest the same issues of police violence and systemic racism. That trend was harshly punished, with Kaepernick ultimately being blackballed from the NFL as a result and U.S. Soccer mandating national team players must stand for the anthem after Megan Rapinoe knelt in solidarity with Kaepernick.
The image follows up other social media posts produced by Sacramento Republic, including a statement on George Floyd’s death:
Club statement on the tragic death of George Floyd. pic.twitter.com/e23KIkeOxb— Republic FC (@SacRepublicFC) May 31, 2020
This is a difficult time, one in which sports don’t seem to really matter at all. If you allow me to editorialize for a moment, I urge everyone to pitch in to do the work to bring meaningful change to our society. We all need to do our part to ensure justice and equality for everyone, and I hope Sac Republic continue to do their part as well in breaking down walls.