Chicago Red Stars players Casey Short and Julie Ertz kneel in outpouring of emotion before NWSL game
US internationals Casey Short and Julie Ertz sent a powerful message amid the Black Lives Matter movement by kneeling and emotionally cradling one another during the national anthem before an NWSL game.
The two soccer stars, both of whom play for Chicago Red Stars, were joined by the rest of both their own team and opponents Washington Spirit in wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts before the match.
Short and Ertz then saw their team defeated 2-1 as their Challenge Cup campaign began in disappointing fashion.
But it was the pair’s symbolic gesture before the game which grabbed the headlines.
Meanwhile, Chicago’s opponents Washington pledged their allegiance to the BLM movement before the game.
Washington Spirit released a statement which read: "We, the players of the Washington Spirit, celebrate our differences and are united in the fight to end racial injustice, police brutality, and systematic racism against Black people and People of Color.
"We respect each other. We love each other. We learn from each other. Together, we are committed to change. Black Lives Matter."
And the club’s head coach Richie Burke took the time before the game to add: "I'll be kneeling for the anthem during tonight's NWSL game to recognize the struggle of players, friends, teammates and former opponents have had with racism.
"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. This is just the start. There is much more work to be done."
The BLM movement has gathered pace around the world ever since the death of American George Floyd on May 25.