The Premier League returned to action on Wednesday with players wearing Black Lives Matter nameplates on their jerseys and BLM patches on their sleeves.
Aston Villa hosted Sheffield United, a game that ended in a 0-0 draw, with Manchester City playing at home against Arsenal later in the afternoon. All 20 Premier League teams will wear the jerseys for the first 12 games back from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
All 22 players and the officials on the field for the Aston Villa-Sheffield United game took a knee in memory of Minneapolis man George Floyd and paused for a few seconds before rising for the kick off. Floyd died May 25 in police custody and his death sparked weeks of social and racial justice protests across the country. All 22 players did the same before the Arsenal-Manchester City game started.
Premier League players made a collective statement last week on the decision to wear the 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 colour or creed. This symbol is a sign of unity from all Players, all Staff, all Clubs, all Match Officials and the Premier League #blacklivesmatter #playerstogether."
The four teams playing on Wednesday were one game behind in the schedule when the season paused in March. They will continue to wear the Black Lives Matter jerseys when they are joined in matches by the rest of the league this weekend. Villa Park featured Black Lives Matter banners throughout the empty park.
The Premier League also held a moment of silence for all victims of the Covid-19 disease, including the father of Aston Villa manager Dean Smith and the mother of Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola. More than 40,000 people have died from the virus in the United Kingdom.