The “MLS is Back” tournament is currently underway in Florida, but teams are making sure that the return of American soccer comes with an acknowledgement of racial injustice. To that end, one MLS team is using their jerseys to acknowledge the victims of police brutality.
After posing for their team photo wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts, the Philadelphia Union pulled off those shirts to reveal the names of people who lost their lives to police brutality printed on their jerseys. Among the names recognized are Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, and Alton Sterling, among many others.
MLS teams are already wearing patches in tribute to those who lost their lives to COVID-19, and had players kneel in solidarity with Black Lives Matter before matches. Even so, the match commentator noted that this move was “an extremely powerful message”.
It clearly isn’t a part of some league-wide initiative. New York City FC, their opponent, kept their regular jersey names for this one.
The Philadelphia Union's jerseys are honoring the names of members of the Black community who lost their lives to police brutality. pic.twitter.com/NWQZrlgvpq
— ESPN (@espn) July 9, 2020
Sports leagues across the country have been taking all kinds of initiatives to show their support for the protests against racial injustice.
Some teams with racially insensitive names are finally showing a willingness to change. We’ve seen this with the Washington Redskins and even the Cleveland Indians.
More gestures like what the Philadelphia Union are doing with their jerseys show that this movement isn’t going away anytime soon.