‘Powerful’ Black Lives Matter initiative in AFL comeback
Before Thursday's highly-anticipated clash at the MCG, Collingwood and Richmond players will come together to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
On Wednesday, 7 News reported Richmond's Indigenous players pushed for the initiative, which received support from both clubs and the AFL.
Although the nature of the gesture is unknown, it will not impede on the game itself, and could be replicated in other round two matches this weekend.
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Herald Sun reporter Mark Robinson reiterated it was a player-driven initiative which will take place moments before the first bounce of potentially the most-viewed AFL regular season match this year.
"The players are deciding what they're going to do," Robinson said on AFL 360.
"The AFL is involved. The AFL has to tick everything off; they don't like surprises.
"There's a possibility that there will be a Black Lives Matter unity across all games this weekend.
"Several million people are going to watch something happen at the MCG in deathly quiet. It will be interesting; it will be powerful too."
Many members of the AFL community have shown support for the Black Lives Matter movement since the death of George Floyd last month. The Brisbane Lions squad dropped onto one knee earlier this week in support of Indigenous teammates and the wider community.
North Melbourne and Collingwood also posted images on social media regarding the Black Lives Matter movement.
Last night our proud Indigenous players along with Archie Smith of African American descent, addressed the team about the impact current events have had on them.— Brisbane Lions (@brisbanelions) June 5, 2020
This is how the team chose to show their support to their teammates, their families, and the Indigenous community. pic.twitter.com/Hiutgx4IVJ
We choose to stand with the black community.— North Melbourne (@NMFCOfficial) June 5, 2020
We choose to stand with our people from aboriginal, indigenous and black communities, past, present and future.
We choose to stand united.
We choose to stand against racism.
Take a stand with us. pic.twitter.com/uyEPig32n8
On Tuesday, Collingwood premiership player Heritier Lumumba demanded an apology from his former club, claiming he was subjected to racism during his ten-year spell with the Magpies.
Brazilian-born Lumumba believed there was a "culture of racist jokes" at Collingwood Football Club, which had a "negative impact" on his mental health and general wellbeing.
The 33-year-old penned an open letter to his former teammates on Wednesday, calling for an acknowledgment of racism.
Published to foxsports.com.au, Lumumba asks his Pies teammates: "What side of history will you stand on?
"I want to make it clear that this is not about individuals. I have no interest in naming and shaming any of my former teammates. This is about racist policy and the lack of anti-racist policy.
"However, with all that being said, I must reaffirm the sentiments of the great LeBron James, 'If you ain't wit US, WE ain't with Y'ALL!'
"It is no longer good enough to be 'not racist', it is no longer acceptable to be silent. You must be anti-racist, daily, if you are committed to being a part of the solution, as opposed to being complicit in the perpetuation of the problem.
"Indigenous people around the world, including people of African descent, have been in a contest for survival. Despite the violence that has and is systemically waged upon our humanity and lands, we are still here. Despite the massacres, the rapes, the humiliation and degradation, we are still here.
"We continually show up to contest after contest, for little reward or oftentimes more violence inflicted upon us.
"It is time that we redistribute this pain and place it on the powerful; the ones who have an ability and responsibility to create change.
"With all this being said, when it comes to this current contest that our peoples find ourselves in, you're either with us or against us. You are either anti-racist or racist. Join me in demanding that the Collingwood Football Club and the AFL be accountable for their unacceptable handling of the racism that I faced during my career."
All love from my end but “Saying all lives matter is like going to a cancer fundraiser and saying there are other diseases” yes every life matters and is of equal importance/significance but right now we are highlighting black lives.That’s just my opinion as a black man ❤️ #blm— Nic Naitanui (@NicNat) June 2, 2020
Originally published as 'Powerful' BLM initiative in AFL comeback