AFL players, umpires kneel to support Black Lives Matter movement

MELBOURNE -- Australian rules players from Collingwood and Richmond united to kneel ahead of the re-start of the AFL season on Thursday in a display of solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement.

The 44 players, and umpires, collectively dropped to their knees under lights at the Melbourne Cricket Ground moments before the first match of the shortened season.

Pre-game, players from both sides wore all black T-shirts instead of their regular warm-up gear.

Before the match, Collingwood chief executive Mark Anderson told ABC Radio both clubs came together to work out a way to support the Black Lives Matter cause.

"There were discussions [on Wednesday] and came from the playing group that both teams felt strongly about," he said.

"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."

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan earlier said the league supported the stance against racism.

"It's a very important issue for our players, clubs and the AFL -- racism needs to be stamped out," he told Channel Seven.