Soccer For All

Ethan Finlay: All MLS players need to support Black players as they seek change

Ethan Finlay – Minnesota United – on dribble

The conversation in MLS around social injustice and racism is undoubtedly led by the Black Players for Change, a collection of more than 170 Black players looking to address systemic change.

Beyond that, Minnesota United winger Ethan Finlay believes it’s important for players of other backgrounds to be active supporters. Whether it’s being a sounding board or confronting modern-day issues, there’s plenty players can do.

“Obviously they’re at the forefront of this, but they need us to stand there shoulder-to-shoulder with them,” Finlay said during a recent Sky Sports TV interview. “I think we’ve seen a lot of players step up and be there with them and give feedback on, hey, how can we make a change, how can white players or Latino players, for example, be part of the change and be part of the rhetoric that we need social injustice change in this country?”

Finlay, now in his ninth MLS season, acknowledged how lived experiences and being an outsider provide a different outlook. But, in his eyes, that doesn’t mean support wavers 

“I can’t walk a day in their shoes, obviously,” Finlay, 30, said, “but having a better understanding, I think it’s going to help all of us to hopefully move forward and create a better world, whether it be in the world of soccer or just everyday life.”

The issues hit close to home for Finlay, who was born in Minnesota and now has 59 appearances, plus 14 goals and nine assists, since joining the Loons via trade from Columbus Crew SC in 2017. 

When the national conversation around racial inequality accelerated this summer, George Floyd’s murder at the knee of a white police officer acted as a catalyst. It occurred in Minneapolis, and since Minnesota have banded together around the Black Lives Matter movement.