Premier League occasionally rises with kneeling players | Soccer

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It didn’t take long to find out that something was different. The players from Aston Villa and Sheffield United, who were playing the first English football match in 100 days, came out onto the field at odd times and then stood on a physically distant line to listen, while the anthem the Premier League resounded on empty stands.The teams then crossed paths without the traditional handshake and when the referee Michael Oliver whistled for the kick-off, something else unusual also happened: the two teams and their coaches thrown to the ground to kneel. This graceful and powerful action was launched and coordinated by the players to show their support for racial justice. It was an image broadcast around the world while a global audience listened to the Premier League.

The Restart project is now over and the top performing national football league in the world has finally resumed operations three months after it was stopped by the coronavirus crisis. Villa against the Blades was the aperitif, followed by the champions, Manchester City, host of Arsenal. Another 90 games will follow in six weeks, all broadcast live on television, all played in front of empty stands. Football is back, but a lot has changed in the interim.

While the pandemic affected everything, the Black Lives Matter movement had a direct influence on the day. The players displayed the slogan on the back of their shirts where their names would usually be (on the front was a blue heart badge with the letters NHS inside). Much of the pre-game buildup on Sky Sports was spent discussing racial inequality, the experience of blacks and players, and what their white colleagues and neighbors could and should do to bring about change. . There were no expert annotated highlights, no artificial talking points about the video referees.

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