English Premier League resumes play while supporting Black Lives Matter

English Premier League resumes play while supporting Black Lives Matter

The English Premier League returned today, and to kick things off they showed their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

The first game back featured Aston Villa, Sheffield, no fans in the stands and no names on any of the jerseys. Instead each player wore “Black Lives Matter” on their backs. In addition, both sides and the referee took a knee after the opening whistle was blown, in solidarity with the movement.

Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling has spoken out supporting anti-racist protests earlier this month. He told BBC, “Just like the pandemic, we want to find a solution to stop it… this is what all these protesters are doing. They are trying to find a solution and a way to stop the injustice they are seeing and they are fighting for their cause.

"As long as they are doing it peacefully and safely and not hurting anybody and not breaking into any stores, they continue to protest in this peaceful way.”

According to the BBC, more clubs throughout the day will wear jerseys saying “Black Lives Matter” as well.

The jerseys also feature a patch supporting the UK’s National Health Service.

As sports ramp up in the United States, could the English Premier League set a template for how to play the game safely, while also empowering players to voice their concerns about racial inequality in America?


RELATED: Reports: MLB and union talking, another proposal made for 2020 season

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UK outlines plan for English Premier League to resume play this summer

UK outlines plan for English Premier League to resume play this summer

The U.K. has put forth a plan for the Premier League to return this summer, but fans will have to stay home and watch on TV.

The British government detailed the steps in a report called “Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government's COVID-19 Recovery Strategy.

Inside the 51-page document it says the U.K. can begin “permitting cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed-doors for broadcast, while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact,” in Step 2 of the plan, starting June 1.

Before moving on to Step 2, however, the report states the U.K. must pass five benchmarks, including: seeing a declining COVID-19 infection rate, a declining death rate (due to COVID-19), being confident that they will be able to provide intensive care across the U.K., and being confident that the healthcare system will still have plenty of access to PPE materials.

According to ESPN, the Premier League will also have to present a plan to the U.K.’s Department of Culture, Media & Sport before they’re cleared to play.

As for fans in seats, the report says “while reopening outdoor spaces and activities… comes earlier in the roadmap because the risk of transmission outdoors is significantly lower, it is likely that reopening… venues that attract large crowds (like sports stadia)... may only be fully possible significantly later depending on the reduction in numbers of infections.”

Soccer fans looking to watch games no matter who’s playing will have another option soon. Bundesliga, Germany’s top soccer league, will restart play on Saturday.

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Under Center Podcast: With NBC Sports Soccer’s Arlo White and Roger Bennett

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Under Center Podcast: With NBC Sports Soccer’s Arlo White and Roger Bennett

Two of the biggest Bears fans you’ll meet happen to be two of the most recognizable voices of NBC Sports’ Premier League coverage. Arlo White, the lead play by play announcer for NBC’s Premier League coverage, grew up in Leicester and fell in love with Chicago and the Bears in the 1980s, following games on a faint armed forces radio signal.

Roger Bennett of the Men in Blazers used to call random 312 numbers from a friend’s house as a kid in Liverpool to find out what the Bears’ score was. Hear from both about how they became Bears fans, how they’ve followed the team over the years and what they think of the 2018 side — which they both predict to beat the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. 

0:00: Introductions, and is Arlo White the biggest Bears fan in all of Leicester?

1:10: How a childhood trip to Evergreen Park led White to become a Bears fan

4:35: How did you follow the Bears in England in the 1980s?

7:00: What was it like to get to call the 2008 Super Bowl for British radio?

9:40: How White managed to make it to Green Bay for the Bears’ season opener

11:55: White’s impressions of the 2018 Bears, and what it was like to get to watch Khalil Mack in person 

14:20: Are there NFL fans around Premier League press boxes like there are Premier League fans around NFL press boxes?

16:20: White’s prediction for Bears-Vikings, beyond drinking “nine cups of coffee” to stay awake

19:00: Welcoming Roger Bennett to the pod, and how he became a Bears fan while growing up in Liverpool

21:30: Calling random 312 numbers in Chicago to get the Bears score

24:10: How White and Rog wound up at the same Bears preseason game in 1986 without knowing it

26:10: Rog’s experience greeting the Bears at O’Hare at 2 a.m. after they played the Cowboys in London

31:00: Why Rog moved to Chicago (and specifically Rogers park) right after college

33:00: The Bears are a centerpiece of the Bennett family Sundays, taking part in the “joy that is Tarik Cohen and his ebullience”

34:30: Why Rog *really* likes Matt Nagy #balds

36:45: Rog’s prediction for Bears-Vikings

38:20: Why Rog is an 11/10 in confidence the Bears will win the Super Bowl 

Listen to the full episode here or in the embedded player below!

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears and stream the ‘Football Aftershow’ easily on your device.