There were some pretty powerful images from the Premier League yesterday, so let’s take a second and acknowledge that.
Ramble of the Day
One thing that has pleased me about the Premier League’s first acts of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement is the actual acknowledgment of the issue being discussed. It has been pretty easy for companies to gesture generally against forms of discrimination — the Premier League has done it many times, and so have its clubs. (Tottenham is one that is still doing it.) The main distinction is this: if you’re going to commit to saying something about racism right now, you’ve got to mention Black people and their oppression in some way. Anything else isn’t satisfactory. You cannot begin to solve problems without acknowledging them. Even in the case of a t-shirt, where you can’t get into nuances, getting as specific as possible is key.
As I mention, these are the league’s first acts — many have said more needs to come along with the symbolic gestures, and I agree. There are a lot of ways to go about making improvements, and a lot of areas to target. I will hope that they will the league and its teams publicly commit to some action, but the distinction in all of this remains that it is a player driven initiative. I stumbled upon a Twitter thread from writer Musa Okwonga while drafting this Hoddle, who believes this isn’t just an example of corporate bandwagoning because of the players. I’d encourage you to read the whole thread, but here’s how it ends:
I don’t expect people to know all the details of #BlackLivesMatter but at a time when a footballer has just single-handedly reversed government policy I do expect them to think - if only for a moment - “hang on, maybe these footballers *do* know what they are doing”. /end— Musa Okwonga (@Okwonga) June 17, 2020
I’ll admit that I didn’t anticipate doing this many posts this week about players and protest, but it’s clear that this moment in time in sports history is about that. A lot of times, they have matched their visibility with an eagerness to do something with it, and that’s a pretty good thing. Employers should have open dialogue with employees, and adopt the good ideas of those employees; that’s why the Premier League is openly saying the words Black lives matter now when we couldn’t have envisioned it a couple of months ago.
In the end, I think we will single out athletes’ efforts in all of this because sports are pretty valuable to society and those athletes have been pretty dedicated to achieving bigger goals in society.
Links of the Day
Eight Championship players tested positive for COVID-19 in the latest round of testing.
Mike Ashley received another bid to buy Newcastle United, this one from American tv executive Henry Mauriss, who outbid Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
UEFA will host a knockout tournament in Lisbon to finish the 2019-20 Champions League season.
Lyon signed Ellie Carpenter from the Portland Thorns.
A longer read: Musa Okwonga on artificial crowd noise and the inextricable link between supporters at a sporting event and mood for The Ringer