Raymon Gaddis on Black Players Coalition: "We're advocating to break down barriers"

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Since the Black Players Coalition of MLS was launched last week, Philadelphia Union defender and board member Raymon Gaddis says he's received an overwhelmingly supportive reaction. Gaddis drove that point home Monday during a Zoom call with reporters, adding that the league’s statement of support only amplified the momentum.

“We're advocating to break down barriers, not only within the soccer world, but also educationally, also in the medical field, also day-to-day things that people have to go through that look like me,” Gaddis said. “I know we're getting very involved with various donors who I can't really mention at this time for different reasons, but to help refinance and really make an impact on various communities as well. But I'm not at liberty to say at this time.”

The nine-year MLS veteran said those conveying their support included some American football players he know from his alma mater, West Virginia University, as well as high school classmate Eric Gordon, a guard for the NBA's Houston Rockets. The NFL also has its own coalition for Black players.

Gaddis said the MLS Black Players Coalition's are already in constant communication. Their announcement also coincided with a central message across social media, particularly on Twitter and Instagram.

“We're on Zoom calls daily, since everything has kicked off and we're just constantly keeping one another informed about various situations or various conversations that are coming across the table,” Gaddis said. “ ... We've gotten an outpour of support and things are transpiring very fast, very quickly.”

As the Black Players Coalition moves forward, Gaddis said he particularly appreciates Union head coach Jim Curtin's support during recent weeks of protest and calls for equality. Curtin recently called out the United States for being, in his opinion, a racist country, especially when it comes to the treatment of Black people.

Those statements give Gaddis hope, and other initiatives seem to be in the works.

“If you haven't caught on, this team is very informed, this team is very educated, this team is fighting for social reform, this time is fighting for what's right on and off the field,” Gaddis said. “That says a lot about collectively what the Philadelphia Union stands for and the different people that they're bringing to this organization. Not only to be great soccer players, but they're great human beings as well."