The social justice movement and the fight against systemic racism has to continue even beyond the protests, Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes said on Extratime Driven by Continental.
Vermes said the conversations among his club about racism have been positive and “educational.” And while he lauds the groundswell of support for Black Lives Matter, nationwide and throughout Major League Soccer, Vermes said this time it has to be different than previous uprisings.
It’s a message he shared with his team.
“This is something we cannot allow time to allow it to be forgotten,” Vermes said. “It can’t be one of those things where, OK, there’s been some protests and now people are kinda over it and you’ve got less people showing up. It’s got to be taken to another level in that we can’t stand for these things to happen anymore.”
One way that can continue, Vermes said, is by players taking up the cause in their personal lives, beyond the training ground and on matchdays.
“I think as much as you can use opportunities in your professional life to make stands, I actually think sometimes it means so much more when you do it in your personal life,” he said. “Because what it says is, ‘I’m going to do this also on my own time. I’m going to work at this on my own time.”
“You can do something on the field or you can do something at training,” Vermes added. “But when you leave and now it’s your time, what are you willing to do? Are you willing to go stand on the corner? Are you willing to go and talk to someone about this on your time. To me, we have to use both of those aspects of our life to try to change things.”