NORTH AMERICA

‘Black Players for Change protest’ will help bring change - Kei Kamara


Sierra Leone and Colorado Rapids striker Kei Kamara has reiterated the need for people of color to be treated with dignity in all walks of life.

The board member of the Black Players Coalition of the Major League Soccer (BPCMLS) believes the powerful, moving anti-racism protest from Black Players for Change before the MLS is Back Tournament opener caught attention far beyond soccer circles.

Over 100 players were said to have participated in the protest that highlighted issues of racism and inequality in the United States and other parts of the world.

According to Kei Kamara, the symbolism of a raised fist by players in Black Lives Matter-inspired shirts and complete silence was designed to send a message to everybody.

“This was a peaceful, silent protest that we wanted to do,” Kamara said. “It was really about having this moment, to capture this moment for us all to appreciate who we are and for us to send a positive message out there.

“It was good because there were so many thoughts of should we say this, should we do this, but we felt like the group of guys … together bumping heads, trying to put something good together to make sure [it worked]. It was all about togetherness, that’s what it was.”

The Colorado Rapids striker was hopeful that athletes adding their voices to the issue will help bring change.

“We wanted to capture the one moment of all the current Black players and staff that’s inside of MLS.

“Can we have this one moment together so we can appreciate what it is to be Black in this league? And also to show solidarity that everything that’s going on around America and around the world, that us as MLS players and staff, we stand with what’s going on. Hopefully, change will come by us standing together and hoping one day a lot of things will change, and it'll change for the better.”

One of the only two Black head coaches in the MLS, Thierry Henry, also took a knee for the first 8 minutes and 46 seconds of his side Montreal Impacts’ MLS is Back opener against New England Revolution.

The former France, Arsenal and Barcelona striker said his gesture “was just to pay tribute and show support to the cause”.
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