The Montreal Impact made their debut at the MLS is Back tournament on Thursday.
Head coach Thierry Henry opened with a poignant social statement as play began against the New England Revolution.
8:46 in sports
Sporting a Black Lives Matter shirt, Henry took a knee at kickoff. He held his stance until the 8:46 mark of the first half. The time represents the 8:46 Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee on George Floyd’s neck in the moments leading up to his death.
The time has become a symbol to honor Floyd’s death in the sports world and beyond. The PGA Tour held an 8:46 moment of silence during its return in June. The 8:46 tee time was also reserved in honor of Floyd.
On Wednesday, MLS held an 8:46 moment of silence as players from across different teams raised black-gloved fists in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Henry, one of two Black head coaches in MLS, has been outspoken in the wake of Floyd’s death on May 25. The 42-year-old head coach best known for his standout career as a player with Arsenal, Barcelona and the French National team, called for change while sporting a Public Enemy hoodie in a June 2 social media post.
“Why is this still happening in 2020?” Henry wrote. “Why do the same racists applaud any ethnic minority who plays for the team they support but abuse the same minorities on the street? Why are all the methods we are using to eradicate this from our society not working?”
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