SANDY — With just over an hour to go until kickoff of Wednesday night’s Major League Soccer match at Rio Tinto Stadium, RSL defender Justen Glad stood at midfield talking to a handful of teammates and players from Los Angeles FC.
None of them wore a jersey. All of them wore t-shirts emblazoned with the words “Black lives matter.”
On a night when MLS was scheduled to return to Rio Tinto Stadium in front of a sold-out crowd of 5,000 people, other matters intervened.
RSL’s match with LAFC was delayed shortly after 6:30 p.m. MDT, when players from both sides declined to take the field for pregame warmups. The move followed similar delays and postponements in the NBA, beginning with the Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic, and WNBA in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
After a delay involving a protest from players in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the match between Inter Miami and Atlanta United was also postponed.
Prior to kickoff — or shortly after Orlando City SC and Nashville SC had taken the field — the league released a statement from commissioner Don Garber and other officials.
“The entire Major League Soccer family is deeply saddened and horrified by the senseless shooting of Jacob Blake and events in Kenosha,” the league statement reads. “We continue to stand with the Black community throughout our country — including our players and employees — and share in their pain, anger and frustration.
“MLS unequivocally condemns racism and has always stood for equality, but we need to do more to take tangible steps to impact change. We will continue to work with our players, our clubs and the broader soccer community to harness our collective power to fight for equality and social justice.”
RSL ticket reps will contact those who had tickets to Wednesday’s match for reimbursement or future credit.
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