AFL Players Just Took A Knee Before Tonight’s Game In A Powerful Statement Against Racism

afl knee

The 2020 AFL season finally kicked off again tonight after months of footy-less misery, but not before both teams took a knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd last month. It was some pretty powerful stuff.

Kicking off at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the first AFL game in more than 80 days, all players from both the Richmond Tigers and the Magpies took a knee before the game began.

The Richmond Tigers took to Twitter shortly after kick off to share a message of solidarity and support for people of colour during this time.

“Tonight’s gesture is one of support, unity and respect, driven by the playing group. We stand in solidarity with our Indigenous brother and sisters and all people of colour. There is no place for racism. The Knee is an expression of that support,” the post began.

“We see strength in diversity, it makes us better as a football club and as a community. We will be there for each other always, especially at a time when many have been impacted by what is happening around the world. We will continue to learn and walk this journey together.”

Collingwood also shared a powerful shot of the players all taking a knee in the empty stadium.

It’s already a bit of a weird night for footy, with no crowd and most of the teams’ support staff still on stand down, but both teams made an effort to stand up against the racism that has riddled the league in recent years.

Notably, the Tigers and the Magpies also both wore plain black shirts during their on-field warm up, presumably in support of the BLM movement.

The decision to take a knee comes almost exactly one year after the AFL and all 18 teams issued an apology to former player Adam Goodes for wildly mishandling the racism he faced during his career.

“Our game is about belonging,” the apology said at the time. “We want all Australians to feel they belong and that they have a stake in the game. We will not achieve this while racism and discrimination exists in our game.”