Thierry Henry kneels during match to honor George Floyd

Players, staff and officials on both sides knelt at the opening whistle to pay tribute to George Floyd and show their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Henry, wearing a “Black Lives Matter” t-shirt, also raised his fist during the tribute.

The kick-off took place quickly and the two sides started the match.

However, Henry continued to kneel and chose to remain so for the first eight minutes and 46 seconds of the match.

The length of time Henry kneeled represents the length of time that prosecutors initially reported that Minneapolis police, Derek Chauvin, had knelt on Floyd’s neck.

Prosecutors have since changed the assessment to seven minutes and 46 seconds.

The murder of the unarmed Floyd in May sparked worldwide protests.

After the game, which New England won 1-0, Henry told reporters: “I sat down for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, I guess you know why.

“It was just to pay tribute and show support for the cause. [It’s] simple enough.”

READ: “MLS is Back Tournament” continues despite coronavirus problems
Henry’s moving tribute comes after nearly 200 Black MLS players from the newly formed Black Players For Change group each raised a fist as they stood silently on the pitch for eight minutes and 46 seconds before the opening of the MLS is Back Tournament.

The black players were dressed in black shirts with slogans like “Silence is Violence”, “Black All The Time” and “Black and Proud”. Their black masks read: “Black Lives Matter”.

The great Arsenal, Henry, had already denounced racism, launching the Stand Up Speak Up campaign with Nike in 2005 after an increase in racist incidents in football at the time.
“We all have stories to tell, but for the first time, other ethnicities are involved,” Henry told ESPN on Wednesday.

“I always say during the day, when things like that happen, that I am insulted on the ground for the color of my skin … I would like other ethnicities on my team to withdraw before going out that would be powerful enough.

“Because at the end of the game, I don’t want the reporter to ask Black the question. Ask everyone and see if they feel our pain. It will have an impact.”

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