Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY
Published 10:33 a.m. ET July 9, 2020
SportsPulse: Mackenzie Salmon asked NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith his confidence level that there will be a full football season. While optimistic, he stressed that the biggest threat to football not happening is people continuing to not wear masks or practice social distancing.
As professional sports return, leagues and players are finding ways to keep the spotlight on social justice issues.
NWSL players knelt during the national anthem and the NBA is making plans for on-court messages, among other ideas. MLS players also knelt, but on Thursday, members of the Philadelphia Union displayed an additional sign of solidarity.
Prior to the first 9 a.m. ET start in MLS history, Union players took off their warm-ups in unison and revealed the names of victims of police brutality in place of their own names on the back of the jerseys.
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Goalkeeper Andre Blake had “Floyd” in remembrance of George Floyd on his back. Midfielder Jamiro Monteiro wore “Sterling” to honor Alton Sterling, killed by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Players also had patches where they wrote short messages, such as “One name too many.” Midfielder Jose “El Brujo” Martinez had “Todos son iguales” (“All are equal”) on his patch.
Our players stand together. One name too many. pic.twitter.com/tPoR8DWveN
— PhilaUnion (@PhilaUnion) July 9, 2020
ESPN soccer analyst and former U.S. men’s national team member Taylor Twellman, providing the match’s color commentary from the studios in Bristol, Connecticut, said the team’s white players wore the names of a Black person they learned of while educating themselves about racism.