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Raheem Sterling: Black Lives Matter tributes “a massive step”

Raheem Sterling pounces on a poor clearance from David Luiz and fires Manchester City into the lead against Arsenal.

Raheem Sterling got Man City off on the right foot with the first goal of the Premier League’s season restart, but he was more impressed by a poignant moment before kickoff at the Etihad Stadium.

Sterling, himself a victim of racial abuse as a player, was joined by everyone on both teams in taking a knee before kickoff in an anti-racism gesture on a day all players had their name plates replaced by the phrase Black Lives Matter.

[ RECAP: Man City 3-0 Arsenal ]

“It’s a massive step for the Premier League to allow something like that to happen,” Sterling said. “Little by little we’re seeing change and that’s what everyone’s hoping for, not just black players but the entire country.”

The goal was Sterling’s 12th of the Premier League season but first since the calendar turned to 2020.

The City superstar said it’s a good first step for him and his club. He also admitted that the empty stadium took some adjustment.

“First 10 was kinda getting used to this atmosphere and getting the cobwebs off,” Sterling said, adding that the goal-free 2020 was “something I beat myself up about but I knew at some point I’d get an opportunity.”

Man City hosts Burnley on Monday before a big trip to Chelsea one week from Thursday.