Philadelphia Union defender Mark McKenzie: You're either for or against racism

Mark McKenzie - portrait against black background - use only for special posts

Like many fellow Black players around MLS, Philadelphia Union defender Mark McKenzie took to social media after George Floyd was killed, voicing his perspective during nationwide protests against racism and police brutality.

His powerful statement, which came via Instagram May 29 and called for change in America, prompted a follow-up story in The Delaware County Daily Times. McKenzie, a Homegrown Player who’s established his place as a center-back starter in Philly, explained where the emotion came from.

“Just venting these thoughts and allowing people to really understand what it’s like to be in my shoes in a way,” McKenzie said, “and my white counterparts won’t ever understand what it’s like to be Black, but at the same time, getting them to personalize that. If you know me, you know I’m a passionate person, and you’re able to feel that emotion.”

McKenzie, 21, has logged 28 regular-season appearances since signing with the club in 2018. He also made his senior US national team debut last February in a friendly against Costa Rica, following his role at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland.

The defender also reflected on locker-room dynamics, and spoke about the social justice and equality issues in stark terms.

“Now more than ever, it’s either you’re with us or you’re against us,” McKenzie said. “It’s not a matter of being with a specific people but it’s being with a specific cause. You’re either against racism or you’re for racism. You either support it or you’re against it. It’s as clear as that. It’s as raw as that.”

For more incredibly honest thoughts from McKenzie, check out the entire piece here.