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Screenshot from Philadelphia Union Twitter. 
Screenshot from Philadelphia Union Twitter. 

In return to field, Philadelphia Union players show support for Black people killed by police

Each player wore the name of a Black victim of police brutality on the back of their shirts, instead of their own name.

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When the Philadelphia Union returned to the field of play on Thursday morning, they aimed to send a message of support for victims of police brutality. 

After walking out onto the field wearing "Black Lives Matter" shirts, each player on the team revealed game shirts with the names of the several of these victims.

The names on the backs of the jerseys included “Floyd,” “Taylor,” “Garner,” “Sterling,” “Rice,” "Bland," paying homage to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Alton Sterling, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland - all Black people who lost their lives at the hands of police in recent years.

In addition, the bottom of each player’s shirts read, “One name, too many.”

The team also tweeted the collaborative effort to create an armband with the names of more of these victims, as worn by team captain Alejandro Bedoya.

The Union’s gestures are a continuation of Major League Soccer’s efforts to raise awareness on systemic racism and social injustice, and show support and solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement.

On Wednesday, more than 100 Black MLS players took the field in a joint protest, raising their fists and taking a knee in solidarity before the opening match of the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando, Florida. The players also wore shirts with phrases, such as "Black and Proud" and "Silence is Violence."

The pregame demonstration lasted eight minutes and 46 seconds, a reference to the amount of time Officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee onto the neck of George Floyd on May 25.

Several weeks prior to their return to the field, more than 170 Black MLS players formed the Black Players for Change organization to give Black players in MLS a voice and assist in making systemic change both inside and outside of MLS.

The organization's three objectives are to create a platform and voice to speak on all matters pertaining to Black players, have increased representation of Black officials in the league office and MLS Players' Association, and create impact programs in Black communities within local MLS markets. 

The Philadelphia Union won their return match against New York City FC 1-0. The team's next match is on Tuesday, July 14 against Inter Miami.

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