Commentary, Sports

Five Major League Soccer matches postponed in protest of latest police shooting in Kenosha

Major League Soccer is taking a stand against social injustice as players join in unison and refuse to play in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, which has caused nationwide protests.

“Real change needs to happen. The shooting of Jacob Blake and the murders during the protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin are the latest incident and it has to stop,” MLS said in a statement released on its website. “Make your voice heard.”

Statement from Major League Soccer
Credit: Major League Soccer

The MLS has said it stands behind the Black community and “shares in their pain, anger and frustration”, as well as condemns “racism, racial injustice, bigotry, and the use of violence by police.” 

Many players followed suit Wednesday by posting their show of support for the Black community on social media. 

Making it clear they stand behind the league’s decision, players used their platforms to raise further awareness on things like police brutality alongside other major sports leagues in America. 

Last week, the N.B.A.’s Milwaukee Bucks began the trend when they refused to take the court against the Orlando Magic. The league suspended three games scheduled to play as a result.

Following, the MLS canceled all but the Orlando City SC and Nashville SC’s match which began just before news of the Bucks walkout spread. 

Los Angeles Football Club manager Bob Bradley and his midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye have been vocal about the ongoing issues that, according to Bradley, are currently dividing the country. 

A member of Black Players for Change, Kaye believes that people need  to realize that there are things happening in the world right now that are more important than sports. 

According to MLS’s Tom Bogert, Kaye made his decision not to play before the league’s movement started. When he let his teammates and coaches know, they stood behind him.

“It’s a big moment to know that it’s not just Black people in this fight,” Kaye told reporters in Sunday’s pre-match conference. “It’s all these other races and ethnicities that want to end racism because it affects everyone.”

The Los Angeles Football Club midfielder said it’s “not fair” that “many people of power and influence aren’t stepping up to really help change the cause that continues to be a problem in this country,” 

Kaye believes the support from league commissioner Don Garber and the league’s ownership group has been effective.

In Carson, California, Sacha Kljestan, midfielder for the Los Angeles Galaxy, made a statement on behalf of the club and his teammates.

The Huntington Beach born Bosnian-American said the club wanted to show “the support we have for the Black community.”

“We have to keep, every day, doing a little bit more.” Galaxy winger, Sebastian Lletget said in a recent interview. “Even though it’s not happening to [everyone] directly, we have to be empathetic to those that it is happening to.”

The league has since resumed its games as of last week,  releasing new dates and times for the games postponed.

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