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Detroit City FC joins protest, won't play Saturday vs. New York Cosmos

Larry O'Connor
The Detroit News

Detroit City FC, joining teams in the NBA, WNBA, MLS and MLB, is taking a stance in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake by not playing.

DCFC will not take part in Saturday’s scheduled National Independent Soccer Association match against the New York Cosmos, the team announced Thursday night. The match was slated for 7 p.m. at Mitchell Athletic Complex in Uniondale, N.Y.

Players on both Detroit City FC and Cleveland SC take a knee at the start of the game at Keyworth Stadium in Detroit, Michigan on July 31, 2020.

The move was led by the players and supported by the organization, the team said in a release. “The need to address social injustice and racism supersedes sports at this moment,” the statement said.

“Tomorrow’s statement is an opportunity for us to express our emotions as a team in response to the recent shooting of Jacob Blake and continued demonstrations of injustice toward the African American community,” said Michael Kafari of the Le Rouge men’s side. “This is a chance for us to take a step forward, and actually make a difference and a change. We know it starts within, and we must educate ourselves first on the needs of the community and actually take action.” 

Fans largely lauded the DCFC players' position in a multitude of Facebook replies to the announcement. A few chastised the club for mixing politics with sports while a couple said they would no longer follow the team.

Instead of playing the game, DCFC — led by the players — is developing a call to action for Saturday evening.

“(Saturday's) statement is an opportunity for us to express our emotions as a team in response to the recent shooting of Jacob Blake and continued demonstrations of injustice toward the African American community,” said midfielder Michael Kafari in a statement released Friday afternoon. “This is a chance for us to take a step forward, and actually make a difference and a change. We know it starts within, and we must educate ourselves first on the needs of the community and actually take action.” 

Le Rouge (0-1-1) is winless so far in the four-match NISA fall campaign, where matches have been played without fans due to state-imposed restrictions because of COVID-19.

DCFC's next scheduled game is 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5, against New Amsterdam FC at Keyworth Stadium before the NISA Fall Tournament.

The league announced Thursday the tournament, which starts Sept. 21, will be carried by beIN Sports.