MLS was back with a boom this week after an absence of almost four months, and teams, players and personnel throughout the league took the opportunity to support the Black Lives Matter movement, spearheaded by Philadelphia Union.

The ‘MLS is Back’ tournament kicked off this week, returning inside a biosecure "bubble" at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, and the platform was utilised by footballers across the board to showcase their support of the Black Lives Matter movement. One of the most instantly recognisable gestures came with the appearance of a special t-shirt worn by all squads across the league, which was designed by Union player Warren Creavalle. He and several other Union players are part of the Black Players for Change, an organisation of more than 170 Black MLS players that was formed to give Black players in the league a voice, and assist in making systemic change both inside and outside of MLS.

The shirt, was displayed by both teams ahead of Union’s opening match against New York City FC, and the design sees the ‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’ messaging across the front in gold. The rear features further powerful messaging, highlighting the need for change, while also encouraging solidarity in the face of ongoing adversity.

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The Union players walked out wearing the Black Lives Matter T-shirts, then proceeded to take them off for the team photo, turning around to reveal that the surnames on the back of their shirts had been replaced by victims of police violence, including (George) Floyd, (Breonna) Taylor, (John) Crawford, (Eric) Garner, (Alton) Sterling and (Tamir) Rice. The names were accompanied by personalised messages on the bottoms of the jerseys, including "One name too many”, “Am I next?” and "Todos somos iguales", Spanish for "We are all equals".

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During the match, Union players also wore shin guards that read "enough is enough," with the hashtag "end racism" and raised fists pictured, while captain Alejandro Bedoya wore a special custom armband that again carried all of the names of Black victims of police brutality.

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The Union’s demonstration came a day after a similar display from other MLS players ahead of the league's first match between Inter Miami and Orlando City SC, when more than 100 members of the Black Players for Change organisation took a knee with fists raised for eight minutes and 46 seconds – the amount of time police officer Derek Chauvin was said to have kneeled on George Floyd's neck, leading to his death.

Montreal Impact manager Thierry Henry, wearing the Black Lives Matter Tee, made one of the most discreet, yet powerful gestures of solidarity BLM movement in the tournament so far during his side’s match against New England Revolution, taking a knee for the first eight minutes and 46 seconds of the contest. As one of two Black head coaches in MLS, Henry has been vocal about the need for reforms to address systemic racism in the wake of the George Floyd incident.

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Unfortunately there's no word on whether the 'Black Lives Matter' prematch tee will be available for purchase at this time.