The Philadelphia Union released a statement in response to the guilty verdict Tuesday in the case involving former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was found guilty on three counts by a jury for the murder of George Floyd last May.
“The Philadelphia Union condemns racism, discrimination, and hatred in any form,” the statement reads. “While today’s verdict cannot undo the pain, the call for accountability has been heard and we are hopeful that this will begin a period of healing for George Floyd’s family and the Black community. We will continue to do our part to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion within our organization and community. Our work is not done.”
The Philadelphia Union was outspoken as a team and an organization last summer in the wake of the video circulating of Floyd’s murder while in police custody that sparked nationwide protests. Now retired veteran Ray Gaddis, who was one of the founding members of a Black Players Coalition formed in June, was given permission to attend protests and advocate for law changes in Indianapolis. Numerous other players on the team spoke out not only about Floyd’s death but other cases of police brutality like the killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville and others.
“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,” head coach Jim Curtin said in an opening statement in his press conference shortly after the video circulated. “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.”
Andre Blake wore George Floyd’s name on the back of his jersey in the team’s first game back in the MLS is Back Tournament in Florida in July and his teammates all wore the names of victims of police violence. Players in the Florida tournament across the league wore Black Lives Matter shirts designed by Warren Creavalle.