Sport AFL AFL players to kneel in show of support for BLM movement
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AFL players to kneel in show of support for BLM movement

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Richmond and Collingwood players will kneel before their AFL clash to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

The gesture has been approved by both clubs and the AFL as the Victorian rivals relaunch the season after a three-month break at the MCG on Thursday night.

Tigers and Magpies players have led the initiative, as they look for a way to support the worldwide protest against systemic racism.

“There were discussions (on Wednesday) and came from the playing group that both teams felt strongly about,” Magpies chief executive Mark Anderson told ABC Radio.

“Certainly both our clubs are endorsing and supportive of our players doing that and they’ll do that just before the bounce. We strongly support them doing so.”

A number of other AFL clubs, including Western Bulldogs, North Melbourne, Melbourne and Brisbane, have posted photos and messages on social media in support of the worldwide movement.

AFL Players Association president Patrick Dangerfield said footballers felt a responsibility for the support not to be “tokenistic”.

“I think it’s being there for them (AFL’s Indigenous players), that they’re comfortable with everything that’s happening but also how can we improve it?” the Geelong superstar told reporters.

“How can it be something more than that, that’s ongoing and we facilitate and really drive real change within all Australians.”

Dangerfield said Geelong and Hawthorn were yet to settle on the most appropriate way to acknowledge the movement during their match on Friday night.

Hawks star Chad Wingard recently took to Twitter to call out racism in Australia and has expressed frustration with a lack of diversity in the mainstream media.

“We’ve got some really passionate young Indigenous players (at Geelong) and we have to make sure we are educating our community better than we currently do,” Dangerfield said.

Black Lives Matters protests took place in the United States after the death in police custody of George Floyd which were followed in Australia last weekend and across the world.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first started the practice of kneeling during the United States national anthem before NFL games in 2016.

-with AAP