Soccer For All

New England Revolution's Teal Bunbury on why Black Players for Change shouldn't stick to sports

Teal Bunbury -- warmup - scarf

In a wide-ranging Instagram Live discussion With NBC 10 Boston, veteran New England Revolution attacker Teal Bunbury discussed his role in the recently former Black Players for Change coalition.

Perhaps most pointedly, he discussed why he believed it was the place of Black athletes to discuss larger societal roles, as Black Players for Change has tried to do in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd and civil unrest that has followed.

"I disagree with the fact that hey, if you are doing a certain occupation you should only do that thing," Bunbury said. "I think that kind of pigeonholes every human being into one little sector."

Put another way, the soft-spoken Minnesotan opposes the "stick to sports" mantra oft levied at athletes.

"We’re all living on this beautiful earth together, regardless of what our occupation is," he said. "So why is it that you only need to take a word from a politician or a doctor or someone working a 9-to-5 wherever? I think we’re all able to have different stories. We’re brought up in different places and have different outlooks on life.

"So for me, obviously being an athlete isn’t all that I am. I’m a father, I’m a husband, I’m a brother, I’m a son. I think being able to play a sport, you have a platform, that you’re able to kind of speak your mind. As long as it’s educated I think that people should have the opportunity to share how they feel and what they’re thinking. And I also think it’s OK that hey, there’s going to be people that might disagree with you. But being able to have that discourse, being able to have that open dialogue and communication is huge."

While Black Players for Change has targeted some specific issues it wishes to take up, first on behalf of its players and then the larger Black community, Bunbury summarized the central message of the movement as a rather simple one any human can relate to.

"We need to show that we all need love," Bunbury said. "I think just being there, and being able to just to listen and hear what people are possibly going through that might be different than your circumstances, and just being a little bit more understanding, I think that’s going to go a long way."