Wednesday afternoon, Philadelphia Union Head Coach Jim Curtin began his weekly media availability with the following statement.
"You have a build up of 400 years of oppression for black people and systemic racism in our country that has led to the culmination with the brutal murder of George Floyd. We live in a country in the United States that is racist. We live in a world that is racist and if you zoom out and look at the game of soccer that we play, we play a game where racism is prevalent as in any other sport. You still have issues in 2020 of horrible, racist chants in stadiums, bananas thrown on the field at players and minimal to no punishment or change.
I look at this problem in our country not as a southern problem or a middle of the country problem or a west coast problem or an east coast problem. Not a liberal or conservative, not a Republican or Democrat problem but one that affects everybody and its present each and every day of our lives. We’ve reached a point now where there is the start of a lot of action and I feel almost not worthy to speak on action but I do feel I have a platform and I feel like I can speak to some simple things that we can all look to. A conversation between CJ Sapong and Kei Kamara could be a start for an action to improving yourself and creating more awareness around the issues. Listening to great human beings speak about the topic of race and inequality. You can donate for police reform to groups like Campaign Zero and Hate Can’t Wait. I can look internally at myself in a league where you look on the field and somewhere in the ballpark of 50 percent of our players are black but I turn to my own staff and I have to question and judge am I doing enough to bring more diversity to our group. It’s also a league wide problem, not just a Philadelphia Union thing. It’s the front offices and general managers all these things have to looked at and action needs to be taken to make things better in our country.
Activists that I’ve listened to as recently as this morning, DeRay Mckesson who runs Campaign Zero brought up an amazing quote and question I think that we can all ask ourselves each and every day and it’s a simple one and I think at this time it’s relevant. The question is “What are you willing to risk to change history.” I believe the black people over their entire lives and the last 400 years have been willing to risk everything and continue to risk everything but I think its time now that leadership in our country and government and white people in general have to be willing to risk more. Look every person’s level of risk is going to be different to their situation but it is time for us all to come together and help out, to speak up, to listen and get to know each other on a closer level and work to improve things. I’m really proud of all of our players that have been active and not just done it on simple retweets or posts on social media but have actually been engaged in conversations, in protests. It makes me proud as a head coach and proud to be part of the Philadelphia Union. It’s a starting point and I know we need to do more and get better."