A group of MLS players have joined forces to form the new Black Players Coalition of MLS, officially launched on Juneteenth.
An introductory message from the Black Players Coalition of MLS follows in full below. The organization aims to address racial inequalities in MLS, fight racism in soccer, elevate Black voices and positively impact Black communities across the USA and Canada.
Major League Soccer has also pledged to support the Black Players Coalition in a public statement that follows below.
Black Players Coalition statement
On this memorable day in American history commemorating the news of the Emancipation Proclamation reaching the last remaining slaves in Texas, we honor Juneteenth by announcing the formation of The Black Players Coalition of MLS. This is a new organization that will address the racial inequalities in our league, stand with all those fighting racism in the world of soccer, and positively impact black communities across the United States and Canada.
We pledge to help bridge the racial equality gap that exists in our league by lobbying for initiatives like implicit bias training, cultural education courses, and diversification hiring practices. Beyond addressing these overlooked systemic issues around soccer in this country, the BPC is committed to tackling the racial injustices that have prevented black people from having an equitable stake in society. Among the many goals we will strive to achieve in our black communities, some will include targeted spending, educational advancement initiatives, and mentorship programs.
So far, over 70 black players in MLS have come together to tackle these issues. Our board members are Ray Gaddis, CJ Sapong, Quincy Amarikwa, Kendall Waston, Jeremy Ebobisse, Sean Johnson, Bill Hamid, Earl Edwards Jr, Jalil Anibaba, Kei Kamara, Ike Opara. Justin Morrow will serve as our executive director.
Although we are a stand alone organization, we are working in partnership with the MLSPA and MLS on racial issues, aforementioned initiatives, and charitable donations. So far, the Black Players Coalition of MLS has secured $75,000 in charitable contributions by the MLS Players Association on behalf of the Coalition.
As we celebrate Juneteenth and the coming together of our coalition, we must remind ourselves that such progressivism was once met with vehement backlash. May this reminder serve as a warning to us all that confronting systemic racism head-on will never be a smooth, constantly upward trending path, but rather a timeless battle that will force us to reinvent the very essence of our institutions. We hope our organization can be an extension of our ancestors’ sacrifice for the next generation to live in a more equitable society as we seek to forge our own path forward under one united voice.
Lastly, we’d like to acknowledge all the other professional athletes standing up against racism. We see you and you empower us. Whether you happen to be singing this tune alone, or supported by a group, we want you to know that we are with you. We are here to fight this battle together. We will be heard.