The killing of George Floyd and ongoing protests over his death and police brutality have hit home for many players throughout the Major League Soccer community, with Real Salt Lake defender Nedum Onuoha among them.
The killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis evoked all too familiar feelings for Onuoha, who discussed his thoughts on an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live about the resulting protests that have taken place throughout the United States and different countries all over the world.
"It is emotional; it is something that is overdue to be honest," Onuoha said of the protests. "There has been a big wave of energy towards this, there has been a lot of talk about George Floyd — these issues have been around for decades. People have been trying to make noise. I have been trying to say things but it gets pushed away for too long. Enough is enough; what gives me strength is that it's not just Black people who are protesting now.
"The change will come but within that, there are so many nuanced things within the protest — for example, a lot of Black people are scared to do what some of the white people are doing to the police. It's crazy to see but it is very necessary. I am not going to say to them that they shouldn't do anything because they haven't been heard for this long so let them be heard now."
Onuoha said it's an issue that's been on his mind with a heightened sense of awareness since he moved to the United States and it's something that permeates his day-to-day life. The 33-year-old grew up in Manchester, England, before signing with Real Salt Lake in 2018.
"I am always very wary of how I behave and how it could be viewed by people who have power," Onuoha said. "For me personally, overall I don't like to say it but I have a fear and distrust towards police. ...I never go out and feel 100 percent safe."
"I have loved living in this country but there is [another] side of it," he added. "In the UK, I am more comfortable because if something happens it probably will not be deadly — but over here because of their rights it is more common that altercations become deadly. I am always very aware of that whenever I go around anywhere. I am comfortable but when it comes to any kind of brutality, if it's from the police, if they read me the wrong way then my life could be taken. I feel that every single day. It is not just me but everybody else as well."