Mark McKenzie has been one of the many MLS players to speak out regarding the issues of racial inequality and social injustice during this MLS season, and the Philadelphia Union defender continued to do so in an interview with SkySports that was released on Friday.
In the interview, McKenzie shared that he's been targeted by racist chants at games during his time coming up in youth soccer, something that he says is all too prevalent if you look around the world.
"I was called the N-word at a youth game. I've had racist chants at me in games," McKenzie said. "We see this happening around the world. I've experienced it and this is the story of many players — whether you have my skin complexion or a lighter skin complexion — you are placed into a bubble where you have a target on your back because of your skin color. Hopefully, the powers are listening."
McKenzie said it's part of the reason he believes so strongly in the message behind the protests that have taken place throughout the country and from MLS players throughout 2020, which have seen teams kneel in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement before games kick off, as well as try and initiate tangible action through the Black Players for Change Coalition.
"It's made me think about how we got here,' McKenzie said. "Made me think about, in my 21 years, how many Black lives have been taken with justice not really following. For me when I step outside of the lines and take off my jersey, I'm driving home and I'm seen as another black man — that's the point.
"As much as I love being Black and being part of this community, it's almost a burden at times because you feel you have to do that much more in order to be seen, or to be seen as equal. That's a drastic statement but it's a real statement. Whether it's the workforce or if I'm walking down the street. If I'm walking with a beanie on and a hoodie, I may be seen as a threat. It's a real issue and it hits home because it's my life — it's who I am."