TFC defender Justin Morrow one of the leaders of the new Black Players Coalition — Toronto Sun

Veteran Toronto FC defender Justin Morrow is the executive director of the newly-formed Black Players Coalition of MLS. Read More

TFC defender Justin Morrow one of the leaders of the new Black Players Coalition — Toronto Sun

eteran Toronto FC defender Justin Morrow is the executive director of the newly-formed Black Players Coalition of MLS.

The organization was announced this week. The BPC said it’s mandate is to “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 United States and Canada.”

On a video conference call with reporters, Morrow said the BPC’s goals are: To have a voice in all racial matters as it relates to MLS, increased black representation in the MLS Players Association and the highest levels of MLS, and to have an impact in black communities.

The BPC, made up of 70 players, has secured $75,000 in charitable contributions from the MLS Players Association on behalf of the coalition. The BPC will lobby for initiatives such as implicit bias training and cultural education courses, while its community efforts will include targeted spending, educational advancement initiatives and mentorship programs. The announcement coincides with Juneteenth, which commemorates June 19, 1865, the day on which Union forces in Galveston, Texas, delivered the news of the Emancipation Proclamation to the region.

“MLS proudly recognizes and supports the Black Players Coalition of MLS — a group of players who today, on Juneteenth, have established themselves as influential change leaders,” MLS said in a statement. “The League looks forward to continued and long-standing collaborations with the Black Players Coalition of MLS through efforts aimed at developing the game in Black communities, prioritizing diversity, and addressing implicit bias through league-wide cultural and educational initiatives.”

In the wake of the death of George Floyd on May 25, as well has rising tensions created by the COVID-19 pandemic and heated negotiations between the MLSPA and MLS on a new collective bargaining agreement, Morrow said a group of players began meeting on social media to discus the way the league treated black players.

“It kind of felt like my world was crumbling, and when I reached out to my black soccer player peers, they all felt the same way,” Morrow said. “And so when we came together on that call, it was the most hopeful thing in one of the darkest weeks of my entire life. And I say that because it was like seeing my brothers and being in a room full of friends. And you know, everyone was there full of love and compassion. And it was really there that we decided that we needed an organization for ourselves.

“One of the central focuses is elevating our voices as a player pool and creating a sustainable path, sustainable organization that can create change and that’s going to outlive all of our careers and be passed down to the next generation so that they can continue these efforts,” he added.

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