EDITORIAL – On Juneteenth last month, more than 70 Players of Color in Major League Soccer organized the MLS Black Players For Change (formerly known as the Black Players Coalition of MLS). They have since partnered with the Players Coalition to work together and with MLS to pursue racial equality and justice.
Midfielder Collen Warner recently rejoined the league, signing with his hometown Colorado Rapids. As a black player he’s looking to get involved in the BPC with an important cause that suits him.
Collen Warner Pursues Voting Rights With MLS Black Players for Change
Warner was in Denver during the start of the nationwide protests of the death of George Floyd. While he wanted to get involved and make a difference he was concerned about attending a protest with the COVID-19 pandemic at large.
“There’s other ways to be a positive impact on your community,” Warner told Last Word on Soccer.
“I was really conscious of keeping myself healthy, and I didn’t want to be in a big crowd. Even though that was not a huge cause of some transmissions of the virus, I wanted to be extras careful.”
The midfielder had not yet signed with Colorado at that point. He was very concerned about doing anything that would harm his chances of getting signed by an interested team.
Upon returning to MLS and getting in touch with several members who lead the founding of the BPC, inspiration struck on what he could do to make a difference.
“I landed on helping with voter registration in the community. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to bring that to the Black Player Coalition to create drives out in the community. I want to help foster an environment where people are empowered to vote and want to register to vote.”
The United States is about to have another contentious presidential election on November. Turnout from ethnic minorities will be a factor in races up and down the ballot.
Remaining Focused AND Hopeful:
Warner remains hopeful for the future and what his hometown can do to combat racial injustice.
“The City of Denver and Colorado, the people there have been really conscious of the things that have been going on within our community. If people keep up the intention and express themselves in whatever way then there’s bound to be some positives to manifest themselves,” he concluded.
It’s not clear yet how some of the ideas the BPC has discussed will come to fruition. For Warner’s idea of voting empowerment, time is of the essence. The election is just four months away. The pandemic is still at large.
Still it’s encouraging to see that the BPC could be involved in programs and initiatives with sporting and non-sporting implications. The players turning into role model/activists are using their platform to affect change beyond the immediate boundaries of MLS.
Change is needed. Collen Warner and the MLS Black Players For Change are brining change here and now.