Richmond and Collingwood footballers united pre-game on Thursday night in a powerful show of support against racism.

Players from both sides and the umpires gathered in a circle in the middle of the MCG and kneeled for 30 seconds in a symbolic gesture against systemic racism.


There will be similar player-led gestures throughout round two.

Channel Seven commentator Bruce McAvaney recognised the players' actions and the greater issue of racism during the station's broadcast.

"Tonight's gesture is one of support, unity and respect, driven by the Collingwood and Richmond playing groups," McAvaney said.

"We stand in solidarity with our Indigenous brothers and sisters and all people of colour. There is no place for racism.

"The knee is an expression of that support. We see strength in diversity – it makes us better as a football club and as a community.

"We will be there for each other always, especially at a time when many have been impacted by what is happening around the world.

"We will continue to learn and walk this journey together."