Major League Baseball players and coaches returned to the diamond in a major way Thursday after the pandemic delayed opening season.

In Washington and L.A., players for the Washington Nationals, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants participated in a “pre-game tribute to Black Lives Matter,” Yahoo! Sports reports, in which they all took a knee while lifting a black banner.

The players knelt on one knee, a move made popular in 2016 by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick to protest police brutality and racial injustice. A social injustice video, recorded by Morgan Freeman, played on screens and BLM stencils appeared on the mound at both stadiums. 

It was a huge moment for Major League Baseball, since they, unlike the WNBA, NBA and NFL, have been slow to publicly participate in demonstrations.

The acts of solidarity differed, slightly, in the two cities. All players stood as the national anthem played, but in the City of Angels, rookie Mookie Betts remained kneeled as teammates Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger each rested a hand on Betts’s shoulder for comfort and support.

Still, this isn’t the first time MLB has supported the movement. Back in June, players slid up to home plate by releasing a video showing their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

In the video they said, “You have cheered for us, but we need you to cheer with us now when you need us most. Black Lives Matter. It’s our cheer for change. It’s your cheer for us. It’s these cheers that will unite us. One team. One dream. Be the change.” 

Thursday’s season-opener was a return to the new normal with empty stadiums after the coronavirus almost interrupted the entire baseball season.

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