MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis 901 FC marched against racism and for equality in downtown on Saturday.
They were supposed to play North Carolina FC on Saturday.
Instead, they canceled the game, choosing to spend their day bringing awareness to an important issue.
“We felt it right that today and this weekend be not for sport but for unity, togetherness, and trying to learn and gain more compassion,” said goalkeeper and sporting director Tim Howard.
Howard says the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin touched a nerve.
“We all get lulled into this false security that there were protests after George Floyd’s death and that things are changing and all of a sudden we wake up a couple of months later and Jacob Blake has been shot seven times,” said Howard.
They joined athletes across the country to protest social injustices.
They marched through the streets of downtown. From AutoZone Park, they stopped by the “I Am A Man” mural on South Main, before heading over to the National Civil Rights Museum, where they toured exhibits.
“We’re all in this together,” said Howard. “When we play a game, the fans come, it’s for the game of soccer, for the love of the competition. But I hope they know that there’s more to this than just soccer.”
Joseph Cox says after he heard players canceled their game, he wanted to join them.
“I said if these people can stand up and march and represent our cause, then I have to get down here supporting them supporting us,” said Cox.
Howard says it’s important the work continues.
“When we talk about progress, we need to continue to protest. We need to continue to shout, so people understand it just can’t be one time,” said Howard.
The 901 FC organization and United Soccer League both released statements in support of the players.
The game against North Carolina FC will be rescheduled for a later date.