Last week was an unprecedented time in American sports history, with player strikes in the NBA, WNBA, some of Major League Baseball and MLS, and even in the USL Championship to protest systemic racism and disproportionate violence against Black people helping to shine a light on a huge issue off the field or court.
Sacramento Republic FC happened to be off last week from game action, so on Wednesday, when they returned from their bye week with a matinee game against Portland Timbers 2, the teams engaged in symbolic protest to stand with their peers across the sporting landscape.
Like many teams in the USL in recent days, the teams stopped play at the 7:00 mark of the game at Providence Park, stood together around the center circle, and all kneeled quietly until the 8:46 mark.
A time to reflect. Listen. Learn. Love. Take Action. It Takes a Republic.#UnitedAgainstRacism pic.twitter.com/qBrSFIsb59— Republic FC (@SacRepublicFC) September 2, 2020
The numbers have significant meaning, seven signifying the number of gunshots to the back Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, sustained at the hands of a Kenosha, Wisconsin police officer a week and a half ago, while 8:46 was the length of time George Floyd had a Minneapolis police officer stand on his neck until he died.
After the symbolic protest, the teams returned to action.
While it is just that, symbolic protest, it is still notable to see teams making a still notable gesture to provide support for a movement to bring justice, dignity and equality for all people in our society. Here’s hoping the work continues to be done, by all of us.
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