Soccer Stands Up For “Justice for George Floyd”
Sporting KC’s Peter Vermes: “Uneducated perspectives on systemic racism disgusting.”
Just as the soccer clubs come back from the long Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic’s moratorium, the world is rocked by the death of George Floyd — and soccer players and clubs stand up in support. MLS says it shares “in the pain, anger, and frustration.”
Does activism belong on the soccer field as the world begins to emerge from the moratorium on soccer? The world is saying yes. And, MLS agrees. Maybe our new normal will be better than the pre-pandemic world. The MASL, NFL, NBA, and NHL have all issued statements. #stopracism
Here is MLS’ Statement on the Murder of George Floyd:
The entire Major League Soccer family is deeply saddened and horrified by the senseless murder of George Floyd.
We stand united with the black community throughout our country and share in the pain, anger and frustration.
We hear you.
We see you.
We support you.
We are committed to use our voices and the platform of our League, our Clubs and our players to continue to champion equality and social justice.
Many of the MLS clubs have spoken out against racism as well. Sporting Kansas City‘s Peter Vermes didn’t hold back when discussing the nationwide protests during a recent Sports Radio 810 WHB interview, calling uneducated perspectives on systemic racism “disgusting.”
Our fearless leader. ✊ pic.twitter.com/Zw6nB6lhvA— Sporting KC (@SportingKC) June 6, 2020
Vermes, the manager and sporting director of Sporting Kansas City, was reacting to the social unrest that’s defined the national discourse since George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was killed by a white police officer in Minnesota.
“It’s incredibly sad, and I say it’s incredibly sad because this isn’t the first time in recent years,” Vermes said. “What I’m disgusted about is, there is this lack of education. We all occupy the same home, and it’s the planet earth. We’re all really one big family in this world, so the idea that we — in this present time—still have issues, and that people are losing their lives…it’s appalling. It’s something that should be completely unacceptable.”
Vermes then noted how SKC’s roster is composed of “13, 14 or 15 nationalities” and how they come from all different walks of life. They embrace that diversity and unite to compete for a common cause.
First professional hat trick 🙏🏼. A bittersweet moment personally as there are more important things going on in the world today that we must address and help make a change. We have to come together as one & fight for justice. We are stronger together! ❤️ #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/ntOtwOySCO— Jadon Sancho (@Sanchooo10) May 31, 2020
What started with Borussia Dortmund‘s Jadon Sancho showing his support with a handwritten “Justice for George Floyd” message in May has turned into the new soccer culture.
This weekend, all of Dortmund’s players wore warm-up shirts with the slogan “No justice, no peace.”
Before the match, Borussia Dortmund and Hertha Berlin’s 22 players and coaches adopted the symbolic gesture of NFL’s Colin Kaepernick‘s taking a knee against racism — and FC Bayern’s players wore “Black Lives Matter” armbands as did their opponents Bayer Leverkusen’s.
Bayern won the match on June 6 4-2 and continues to be the top contender for the Bundesliga championship.
Below is the video of FC Bayern’s Thomas Mullerspeaking out against racism on June 3rd, where he said, “We are a community and we are strong together, we have so many different people in the sport.”
“It doesn’t matter the color. It doesn’t matter how we look. Sports has the power to bring the people together and speak with one tongue.”Thomas Muller, FC Bayern
Union Berlin‘s Anthony Ujah also spoke up asking people to be proactive against racism.
The consensus? The Bundesliga’s top teams all stood up, united against racism and police brutality this weekend, joining MLS’ position of support.
Philadelphia Union defender Mark McKenzie perhaps said it the best.
“You’re either for or against racism.”Mark McKenzie – Philadelphia Union
This is not an issue with sides. There is only the side against racism. And MLS teams are standing by this. LA Galaxy forward Aleksandar Katai has been let go after his wife posted racist posts on Instagram. While the posts have been deleted, the actions cost the Serbian newcomer to the MLS his roster spot after only two games.
In another effort making a difference, Portland Timbers forward Jeremy Ebobisse called for real racial changes in powerful essay.
The 23-year-old forward’s words of pain and wisdom are sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis but delve into the deeper issue of institutional racism and the history of police brutality.
“I’m agitated, I’m angry, I’m filled with despair,” Ebobisse wrote who hopes for true systematic change.
Ebobisse fears Floyd’s death “will blow over in most minds and we will still be isolated in our fight for human and civil rights.”
While the MLS has not practiced the diversity and anti-racism it is preaching, according to Goal.com, “Only seven of 156 head coaching hires in league history have been black,” there is hope for a brighet future with the growing intolerance of this pervasive injustice that is often invisible to many.
FIFA, the international governing body of soccer, has also taken a stand against racism. Historically, FIFA has been quiet, perhaps a bit reticent on its support of social causes but the words “Stop racism – Stop violence,” top its website.
“FIFA fully understands the depth of sentiment and concerns expressed by many footballers in light of the tragic circumstances of the George Floyd case. FIFA had repeatedly expressed itself to be resolutely against racism and discrimination of any kind ….”
FIFA’s President Gianni Infantino added, “For the avoidance of doubt, in a FIFA competition the recent demonstrations of players in Bundesliga matches would deserve an applause and not a punishment.”
UEFA has also joined the effort.
“FOOTBALL IS A SPORT WHICH ENCOURAGES TOLERANCE, INCLUSION AND JUSTICE. THESE ARE THE SAME VALUES BEING ESPOUSED BY THOSE SHOWING SOLIDARITY TO GEORGE FLOYD.”Aleksander Ceferin, UEFA President
Sancho was not alone when he stepped forward in May — his teammate Achraf Hakimi joined in and so have players around the globe; America’s Weston McKennie who plays in Germany for Schalke 04 wore an armband asking for justice, Liverpool posted Unity is strength. #BlackLivesMatter with a picture of players kneeling, and Chelsea, as well as Manchester United, have all announced support.