Monday, September 28, 2020

MLS to return on Friday after joining Jacob Blake protests

SoccerNews in MLS 28 Aug 2020

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MLS will return with Montreal Impact versus Toronto FC on Friday following the pause in play after the shooting of Jacob Blake.

The league followed the NBA in postponing games on Wednesday after the Milwaukee Bucks went on strike in protest against police brutality and racial inequality.

Blake, a black man, was repeatedly shot in the back by police in Wisconsin, the Bucks’ home state.

Just one MLS match went ahead on Wednesday, with Orlando City beating Nashville, but the players are now ready to resume play. The NBA will return on Saturday.

“Following a period of reflection and conversation with the Black Players for Change (BPC), the league’s players and the MLS Players Association, matches will resume, beginning tonight with the Montreal Impact hosting Toronto FC,” a statement read on Friday.

“BPC are scheduled to meet with MLS owners, as the players and the league continue working together to create long-term change both inside and outside of MLS.”

MLS bosses have largely supported the teams in their demonstrations, although Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen sparked outrage as he criticised his club and threatened to cut funding.

RSL players past and present hit back, while Toronto striker Jozy Altidore and NBA playoff star Donovan Mitchell – a player for Salt Lake City’s Utah Jazz – each called on Hansen to sell the team.

Salt Lake defender Nedum Onuoha told the BBC he was considering his future at the club after Hansen’s comments.

“I don’t want to be here, because I’m not here to play for someone who isn’t here to support us,” the former Manchester City centre-back said.

“We are trying to create a bigger conversation, but a lot of the people who are in power don’t empathise or sympathise or do anything. They are more concerned with themselves.”

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