Everyone was waiting in anticipation for the much-hyped return of the AFL on Thursday, but Richmond and Collingwood took a moment and united in solidarity for a more important message prior to the bounce at the MCG.
With Australia watching on, Richmond and Collingwood players and the umpires took a knee around the centre circle before their clash to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
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The gesture had been ticked off by both clubs and the AFL as the Victorian rivals relaunched the season after a three-month break on Thursday night.
A player-led initiative, the Tigers and Magpies were determined to take a united stand for the worldwide cause against systemic racism.
The AFL community rallied around both teams and showed their support on social media.
— Dan (@DanClarkSports) June 11, 2020
— Clint W (@Clintwits) June 11, 2020
— Alex Cullen (@alextcullen) June 11, 2020
— Liz Pearson (@CycloneLizzy) June 11, 2020
— SA (@lmsja11) June 11, 2020
— Karen Phillips (@karencomma) June 11, 2020
Players also warmed up in black t-shirts in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Teams to support Black Lives Matter
It is expected the league's other 16 clubs will display similar shows of unity during the weekend's remaining eight games.
"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," Magpies chief executive Mark Anderson told ABC Radio.
AFL boss Gillon McLachlan said "racism needs to be stamped out".
"It is an important issue for our players, for our clubs and for the AFL," he told Sunrise.
A number of other AFL clubs, including Western Bulldogs, North Melbourne, Melbourne and Brisbane, have already posted photos and messages on social media in support of the worldwide movement.