Black Players for Change: This is not your distraction | The Movement

This is not your distraction. It’s not your escape from real life. For some, this is everyday life.

These words adorned the shirts worn on July 8 by nearly 200 Black Major League Soccer players, coaches, and staff who gathered for a showing of unity during a summer of historic racial tension in the United States.

In the debut episode of The Movement Podcast, host and former MLS player Calen Carr examines how the Black soccer community in MLS embraced the Black Lives Matter movement and formed the Black Players for Change organization.

Founded by a collection of prominent players with their own sobering stories of life as Black men in America, the BPC orchestrated a series of demonstrations in July, as well as a boycott of nearly all MLS games on one historic night in August, all to raise awareness of racial injustice and police brutality.

Carr offers a candid look at life for these Black players across the North American soccer spectrum via months of interviews with MLS players Warren Creavalle, Raymon Gaddis, Jeremy Ebobisse and Ike Opara, as well as passionate supporters eager to join the fight for justice. From the Minneapolis corner where George Floyd died, to a protest in Atlanta following the death of Ahmaud Arbery, to the night when MLS play suddenly stopped after the police shooting of Jacob Blake, players and fans share their experiences from an unprecedented and transformative moment for soccer and social change.

Rundown

  • 0:00 - Formation of the Black Players for Change organization
  • 8:45 - Warren Creavalle recounts one agonizing night in Houston
  • 14:20 - Ike Opara on life in Minnesota after George Floyd’s death
  • 18:05 - Jeremy Ebobisee on systemic racism and the relationship between the black community and the police
  • 25:42 - Atlanta United Supporters refocus their resources on social justice
  • 35:12 - Ray Gaddis reflects on the death of Breonna Taylor and his personal story of protests and pandemic
  • 45:33 – Reggie Cannon and Ryan Hollingshead discuss a fateful night in Frisco and a historic night when sports stopped across the country

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