After a minute’s silence to pay to remember those who have died during the coronavirus pandemic and to the work of NHS staff, Bristol Bears players stood in a heart-shaped formation at Ashton Gate Stadium.
Ahead of the return of the Premiership season, it was Bristol’s way of showing respect for black lives and racial equality under the banner of Rugby Against Racism.
Speaking before the match against Saracens, Bears director of rugby, Pat Lam, said that the “true Bears culture is about love which for us means sacrificing oneself for the benefit of others”.
He said: “Love conquers all issues and it’s a key part of everything that we do on and off the field.”
Twelve out of Saracens’ 15 starting lineup took to the knee before kick-off – the same gesture that professional footballers across the UK did when the leagues recommenced.
Bears prop John Afoa added: “When the playing group and staff met to discuss this issue, the reaction was unanimous. We are united in our support for equality for all and to end racism, wherever we might find it.”
Main photo by JMP