On a silent makeshift pitch at the Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida, MLS and a number of it players made a lengthy statement Wednesday night about where they stand on racial injustice in the U.S.
Players from Orlando City SC and Inter Miami CF took at knee along the midfield circle, while all around them the MLS group Black Players for Change raised gloved fists in a Black Power salute reminiscent of Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ gesture in the 1968 Summer Olympics, wore T-shirts with phrases such as “Black and Proud,” “Black All the Time” and “Silence is Violence,” and were covered in “Black Lives Matter” facemasks.
A video board along one sideline displayed the hashtag #MLSisBlack, a tweak of MLS is Back, the name of the in-season tournament to mark the league’s return from its COVID-19 pause.
The entire demonstration lasted eight minutes, 46 seconds — the listed time former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on the late George Floyd — as ESPN cameras recorded the scene.
The Orlando and Miami players again took a knee just before the opening kickoff.
MLS and the Black Players for Change are following in the footsteps of the English Premier League and German Bundesliga, where players have taken a knee just prior to kickoff. NWSL players have also been staging pregame protests as that league has returned to play.
“What you just saw was a moment of solidarity standing up with out brothers and sisters fighting the fight for racial equality and human rights,” Toronto FC’s Justin Morrow, executive director of Black Players for Change, told ESPN at halftime. “We as professional athletes, we see what’s happening across the sports landscape in North America and the world and how us Black players have been galvanized by the death of George Floyd.”
“Tonight was our responsibility to carry on this conversation to make sure that this cycle of violence stops,” Morrow added. “We’ve seen time and time again in North America, a Black person dies at the hands of a white person and something else happens and that energy fades away.
“So tonight was about bringing that energy making sure the conversation continues. And what I need to see, what we need to see from Major League Soccer is that long-term commitment (MLS has pledged) moving forward.”
Source: Read Full Article