Casey Short and Julie Ertz Share Emotional Kneeling Moment in NWSL Restart

NWSL Restart Kneeling
Members of the Chicago Red Stars take a knee during the national anthem before a game against the Washington Spirit in the first round of the NWSL Challenge Cup.
Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

The NWSL became the first major team sports league to return to action on Saturday with the NWSL Challenge Cup, and beyond the games on the field, the restart was notable for the plethora of kneeling protests during the national anthem. Most notably, Chicago Red Stars teammates Casey Short and Julie Ertz shared an emotional moment while kneeling before their game, with Short breaking down in tears and Ertz consoling her while the anthem played.

Players took the field for the anthem wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts, and though not every player kneeled — as is their right — the protests against racial inequality and police brutality served as a powerful statement of unity, one echoed by the teams themselves. The Washington Spirit, who played the Red Stars on Saturday, released their own statement about the actions, ending with “Black Lives Matter”:

Ertz was previously part of a roundtable about racism on The Athletic earlier this month, wherein she spoke about racism as a real thing that white people have to take responsibility for in order to help overcome it:

The NWSL Challenge Cup sees eight of the league’s nine teams playing in Utah in a tournament format; the Orlando Pride are the lone exception, as they pulled out due to a bevy of positive coronavirus test results.

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