MLS returns to action with powerful eight-minute taking of the knee

Tom Cary
·2-min read
Orlando, FL, Orlando, FL, USA; MLS players participate in a pre game ceremony to support equal rights and Black Lives Matter before the game between the Inter Miami and the Orlando City at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex - MLS returns to action with eight-minute taking of the knee - USA TODAY SPORTS
Orlando, FL, Orlando, FL, USA; MLS players participate in a pre game ceremony to support equal rights and Black Lives Matter before the game between the Inter Miami and the Orlando City at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex - MLS returns to action with eight-minute taking of the knee - USA TODAY SPORTS

Nearly 200 players and officials performed a silent demonstration lasting eight minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time a police officer knelt on George Floyd's neck, ahead of Major League Soccer’s return on Wednesday night.

Orlando City beat Inter Miami 2-1 in the match that followed, former Manchester United winger Nani scoring the winner in stoppage time. But it was the demonstration before the game which made headlines. President Trump has not yet responded.

Players wore black T-shirts, black gloves and black face masks emblazoned with Black Lives Matter slogans, and raised their arms one at a time as they walked onto the pitch. Some took a knee, including the referee and the line judges.

The national anthem was not played either before or after the game, MLS having previously confirmed it would not be played as no fans were in attendance due to coronavirus.

“I felt for a couple of minutes,” Nani said after his stoppage time winner. “We all want to change the world. We want a better world — no differences, no discrimination. … Everyone in the world should stop for a couple of minutes and think about our children and teach them how to be a better person and create a better world.”

After a four-month hiatus, MLS teams are staying in resorts for the ‘MLS is Back’ tournament at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex at Disney World.

FC Dallas withdrew on Monday after 10 players and a coach tested positive for Covid-19. One day later, Nashville SC announced five confirmed positive tests. Nashville were supposed to play Chicago in the second game of a double-header on Wednesday but the game was postponed.