TORONTO, Canada—The newly minted Black Players Coalition of MLS will have none other than Justin Morrow act as its executive director.
@BPCMLS is about giving BLACK PLAYERS in MLS a VOICE and making SYSTEMIC CHANGE both in & outside of our league.https://t.co/wO79U8iKST#MLSisBLACK pic.twitter.com/t2oaHtzfjD— Black Players Coalition of MLS (@BPCMLS) June 19, 2020
In the wake of mass outcry regarding accusations of longstanding racism in society — galvanized by the the killing of George Floyd in the U.S. — many institutions have created programs and committees to show consolidation with Black Lives Matter movement. The Black Players Coalition is the first of such in Major League Soccer.
“This is a new organization that will address the racial inequalities in our league, stand with all those fighting racism in the world of soccer, and positively impact black communities across the Unites States and Canada”, the official announcement read.
“We pledge to help bridge the racial equality gap that exists in our league by lobbying for initiatives like implicit bias training, cultural education courses, and diversification hiring practices.”
The Coalition was announced on Juneteenth, a day which memorializes the end of slavery in the U.S. The MLS was quick to show support for the Coalition’s formation, promising a fruitful relationship with the group as well as many collaborations in the future.
MLS supports the @BPCMLS #MLSisBlack. pic.twitter.com/H1v4DTv559— MLS Communications (@MLS_PR) June 19, 2020
Justin Morrow — an Ohio native — has been with Toronto since 2014 and is one of the most well-known and beloved players on TFC. While his role as executive director will certainly be a point of pride for many in Toronto, longtime fans will not be surprised by it either, having seen the quality of his character over many years of play.
“It came together on the back of George Floyd’s death,” he said of the Coalition. “Within five days we had a Zoom call, like 70 plus guys. It was a very memorable call ... Our worlds were crumbling, and a lot of love was shared on that call ... It was really there that we decided we needed an organization to fight for ourselves and fight systemic racism.”
As executive director, Morrow will help lead the group’s efforts and ensure that its missions and values are maintained. The Coalition will partner with the MLS and the Players Association vis-a-vis racial issues and other similar initiatives; it has already procured $75,000 US donations on behalf of the MLSPA.
With Orlando soon to be host to the MLS, as well as the NBA, both acting as the resumption of play for their respective leagues, the players on the BPCMLS will be keen to use this time to spread awareness to viewers.
“If you look at opportunities like Orlando as a platform to bring us together as a group, I think we should be using it.”