Philadelphia Union players wear names of Black police brutality victims on back of jerseys

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As the MLS is Back tournament gets underway in Florida, Philadelphia Union players took the opportunity to pay tribute to Black victims of police brutality. When the Union took the field against New York City FC on Thursday, each player had a victim’s name on the back of their jerseys in place of their own.

George Floyd, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Breonna Taylor were some of the many names that were included in the tribute.

This comes after players performed a silent demonstration prior to Wednesday’s game between Orlando City SC and Inter Miami CF. Players kneeled around midfield and others raised their fists in the air in a show of solidarity for the “Black Lives Matter” movement. In addition, players wore “Black Lives Matter” face masks and shirts that read”Silence is Violence.” That demonstration lasted for more than five minutes before play got underway. 

In June, prior to the season resuming following the coronavirus pandemic, the MLS formed an organization called “Black Players for Change.” The group is a collection of more than 170 Black MLS players that hope to bring attention to racial equality and human rights.  The organization pushed for certain initiatives to take place during the MLS Is Back Tournament. Allowing team jerseys to feature MLS Unites patches with have spaces for players to write the name of someone they wish to honor was one of them.

Union midfielder Alejandro Bedoya utilized the patch to showcase the names of several victims of police brutality.

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