During the inaugural game of the NWSL Challenge Cup, players from the NC Courage and Portland Thorns FC kneeled during the singing of the national anthem. Additionally, the teams wore shirts that read 'Black Lives Matter' on them.
The act of kneeling during the national anthem is something that became highly discussed back in 2016 when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick used the action to bring attention to racial injustice and police brutality in America.
Following the murder of George Floyd, a Black man, by a Minneapolis police officer in May, civil unrest and protests have occurred across the country. Numerous athletes from all the professional sports have already stated that they will kneel and peaceful protest when their respective sports return.
With the NWSL being the first Ameican team sports league to return amid the coronavirus pandemic, the players showed their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
The NWSL Challenge Cup is an eight-team tournament in place of the league's standard season. Teams are currently participating in preliminary games for seeding in the knockout tournament.