During the national anthem before the second game of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Challenge Cup on Saturday between the Chicago Red Stars and the Washington Spirits, Julie Ertz consoled her Red Stars, and Team USA teammate Casey Short, who was visibly emotional. 

Players were showing support of the Black Lives Matter movement that is sweeping across the United States. Players also wore t-shirts during the pregame and arm bands during the game with ‘Black Lives Matter’ written on them.

The same scene took place prior to the first game of the day as all 22 starters as well as some reserves took a knee during the national anthem. 

In a statement prior to the first match on Saturday between the North Carolina Courage and Portland Thorns, the two squads issued a statement to comment on the ongoing issues in the U.S. “We took a knee today to protest racial injustice, police brutality, and systemic racism against Black people and people of color in America,” they said. “We love our country and we have taken this opportunity to hold it to a higher standard. It is our duty to demand that the liberties and freedoms this nation was founded upon are extended to everyone.”

This is not the first time that players knelt during the national anthem of an NWSL game, as back in 2016, Megan Rapinoe knelt prior to her game as a member of the Seattle Reign. In addition, Rapinoe knelt during the anthem while playing for Team USA. She took to Twitter to comment on what transpired Saturday.

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