The Black Players for Change made their first move Wednesday as a collective group, and the American soccer world watched it unfold. After assembling nearly 170 participants, they held a protest, lifting their right fists in the air, sporting black gloves, demanding social justice for Black men and women in America.
The Black Players for Change, which formally announced themselves on Juneteenth as the Black Players Coalition of Major League Soccer, were on the field prior to the first match of the MLS is Back Tournament as Inter Miami CF and Orlando City SC kicked off at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.
Toronto FC fullback Justin Morrow, the coalition’s executive director, said more than 170 Black players throughout MLS were expected to participate, supplemented by Black coaches, club and league staff. The group was joined by Orlando’s and Miami’s kneeling protests at the center circle, as silence flooded the air.
The match was the first in MLS since March 8.
The Black Players for Change announced Tuesday their partnership with The Players Coalition, co-founded by former NFL wide receiver Anquan Boldin and New Orleans Saints defensive back Malcolm Jenkins.
“They expressed their interest and their excitement about us from the onset of our press release,” Morrow said of the partnership. “We couldn’t have hoped for better, right now, to have role models like that – to model ourselves off of, to piggyback on their social justice initiatives. It’s going to be a good partnership.”