The English Premier League uniforms also feature a Black Lives Matter badge on the sleeve

By Morgan M. Evans
June 17, 2020 03:58 PM
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SHAUN BOTTERILL/POOL/AFP/Getty

The English Premier League teams are showing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

On Tuesday, the league kicked off their season following a three-month hiatus due to the global coronavirus pandemic sporting new uniforms for all of their 20 teams.

Following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25, protests in cities throughout the United States have emerged, also sparking international demonstrations from the streets of London to Berlin. 

In a show of support for the international movement, the league teams came together to create Black Lives Matter jerseys.

"We, the Players, stand together with the singular objective of eradicating racial prejudice wherever it exists, to bring about a global society of inclusion, respect, and equal opportunities for all, regardless of their color or creed. This symbol is a sign of unity from all players, all staff, all clubs, all match officials and the Premier League," the players said in a statement released by the league on June 12.

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) nameplate will replace the players' last names on the back of their jerseys for the first 12 matches of the restarted season. In addition to the tribute on their jerseys, the Premier League new uniforms also feature a BLM badge and a badge thanking the United Kingdom's National Health Service on the sleeves.

The statement also said that along with the uniforms, the Premier League supports team members' choices to take a knee on the field to protest police brutality and racism during or before the games.

"The Premier League believes there is no room for racism, anywhere," the statement concluded with the hashtag, "#NoRoomForRacism."

On Wednesday afternoon, Premier League teams Aston Villa vs. Sheffield United were the first to show the new BLM uniforms in the league's first match of the restarted season.

Prior to the start of the game, both teams' players, coaches and officials took a knee to honor the movement as cameras zoomed in on a large BLM banner that was displayed over a section of empty seats in the stadium.

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The Premier League's support for the movement comes just a few weeks after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell formally apologized for ignoring players who kneeled during the national anthem over the last several seasons.

"We, the National Football League, condemn racism and systematic oppression of black people," he continued. "[We] admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest."

Though Goodell did not explicitly mention Colin Kapernick — who helped to start the movement as a player on the San Francisco 49ers in 2016 —  in his initial speech, on Monday, the commissioner appeared on ESPN's The Return of Sports special, where he endorsed the idea of re-signing of the athlete.

"Well, listen, if he wants to resume his career in the NFL, then obviously it's going to take a team to make that decision," Goodell explained. "But I welcome that, support a club making that decision and encourage them to do that."

He continued, "If his efforts are not on the field but continuing to work in this space, we welcome him to that table and to help us, guide us, help us make better decisions about the kinds of things that need to be done in the communities."