Following a player vote to not play tonight’s match against the LA Galaxy in Southern California, Sounders FC has issued the following statement. Additionally, several members of the club have offered their thoughts on Wednesday's decision.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC CLUB STATEMENT
We support our players. We stand with them, and share their frustration with what we have witnessed. We are committed to supporting our beliefs. We are all Sounders. Together we fight racism. We are resolved and committed as an organization to use our platform in furtherance of change – real systemic change – to make our community a more just place to live for everyone.
SOUNDERS FC GOALKEEPER STEFAN FREI:
“Going back to the senseless murder of George Floyd, I think it outraged people and it drove some people to use their platforms, even if they weren’t directly affected, to take a stance and hope to stir some movement in the right direction. And here we are a few months later and yet another senseless act of violence, with the added stark contrast just two days later with how a white person is treated by police – walking around with a rifle – it’s crazy. For us – the dominoes will fall. And people and organizations that have large platforms, it’s easy to be one of the dominoes that falls over. But I don’t think we just want to be a domino. We have our thoughts and our own opinions on these things, and regardless of what everyone else is doing, we’re making a statement by wanting to raise awareness that we, as a country, haven’t come far since the murder of George Floyd and the initial groundswell calls to action. We have so much farther to go. Hopefully people can respect our opinions and wishes that there will be some serious change.”
SOUNDERS FC DEFENDER KELVIN LEERDAM:
“We thought about it really hard, but, in the end, we’re professional athletes but we’re also human beings. Sometimes as a professional athlete you live in some kind of a bubble, but we wanted to show everybody that, listen, we see what happens around us and those are things that can affect us too. As a group, we decided that we’re part of the world and we’ll let everybody see that the things that happen around us, we aren’t blind to it. That’s why we took a stand to not play today. I think you’ve seen it all over – other leagues and teams are also doing it. These are tough times, where we have to take a stand.”
SOUNDERS FC FORWARD JORDAN MORRIS:
“For us, this fight for equality is so much bigger than sports. You see what has happened with Jacob Blake and Breonna Taylor, there hasn’t been justice. There’s been no arrests. It seems like nothing has changed. So as an organization, as a club, as players, we came together to show our support and solidarity with the Black community and to really try to be a driving force for change. This has been going on for way too long and obviously everyone knows and understands that it needs to change, so we’re trying to do our part to help drive that change forward.”
SOUNDERS FC MIDFIELDER CRISTIAN ROLDAN:
“I think we as players, we want to play the game that we love. But there are so many things going on in the world, in this country, that matter more. Tonight is a case where we want to use our platform to educate and help shine a light on racial inequality – to show it matters and we can’t just go about daily life as usual anymore. Regardless of race, everyone deserves a chance for an equal life and the fact that that is something that Black people in America have never had is something that needs to change. That is the message behind us not playing.”
SOUNDERS FC MIDFIELDER GUSTAV SVENSSON:
“We as professional athletes have the luxury to decide to play or not, while some people don’t have the luxury of justice in life. Therefore, I will always do what I can to show the world that I stand for what’s right and equality.”
SOUNDERS FC HEAD COACH BRIAN SCHMETZER:
“I fully support the players’ decision. As an American citizen, it is clear to me that our country is incredibly divided, and it saddens me that some people seem not to understand the importance of this movement. The violence that we are witnessing across our nation needs to be addressed, and tonight I am proud of the players for taking a stand and using their voices.”