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The Hoddle of Coffee: Tottenham Hotspur news and links for Tuesday, July 14

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MLS players on the lack of people of color in leadership positions

Tottenhan Hotspur Women Training Session Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

Editor’s note: Oh noes! The Hoddle was accidentally scheduled to publish on the wrong day! Here it is, apologies for the lateness. I blame Skipjack. —dgm

Hi, all!

The women’s team is officially back in training, so here’s a picture of midfielder Chloe Peplow.

Ramble of the Day

I wanted to bring back the topic of people of color in higher ranking positions in football again, for a couple of reasons. Immediately, it’s because The Athletic came out with another roundtable interview that’s not behind the paywall, this time of MLS players that are part of the Black Players for Change. More broadly, though, I think because we are all football people, having as many people as possible represented in a given team or league should be important to us. An important exercise is to look at systemic discrimination in the things we’re passionate about; even if they’re not the only area where racism exists, targeting racism in as many ways as possible is a worthwhile exercise.

Five players were interviewed for this roundtable — Nashville’s Jalil Anibaba, Portland Timbers’ Jeremy Ebobisse, D.C. United’s Earl Edwards Jr., the Philadelphia Union’s Ray Gaddis, and free agent Quincy Amarikwa. They discussed why they started Black Players for Change among other things, but like I mentioned, they discussed the lack of people of color in coaching and general manager positions in MLS. MLS has a higher number of head coaches of color than the Premier League — 11 of 26 are, but only two are Black (the other nine are Latino) — though only four of the 26 teams have general managers or sporting directors who are people of color. It’s obviously a nuanced issue, and here’s just one way Ebobisse describes it:

I think it was mentioned by Paul that GMs are hiring their buddies, or people that they have a network or association with. And that’s kind of a microcosm of society in and of itself, because we see a power structure that intentionally has been dominated by white people. And unfortunately, it is further entrenched every time that that network of white folks in power continues to help their own. We as Black people don’t really have that network of people in positions of power that’s as widespread, that can mentor us, that can look after us. And that’s where a bit of that disconnect comes. We understand that when you form a relationship with someone, you’re going to see the positives that they bring to the table. But we just want someone to see that in us as well. Whether that’s in soccer, whether that’s when we’re trying to go into coaching, whether that’s in the business or political world. We want to feel valued. We want to feel like people see more to us than our athletic abilities. And I think that that’s lacking for a lot of people of color, not just for Black people in this country.

I think he lays out the point very well, and it is worth considering how the group of general managers in MLS, for example, is a homogenous group that has not been challenged, and that tends to be the case in a lot of places. Regularly hiring within your network without considering those outside of your network will naturally shut out talent; if you keep that network fairly homogenous, then you’ve contributed to systemic racism.

Links of the Day

One person tested positive for COVID-19 in the Premier League’s latest round of testing.

Manchester City won its appeal to the CAS against UEFA’s European ban.

Washington Spirit’s Andi Sullivan will miss the rest of the NWSL Challenge Cup with a meniscus tear.

Manchester United signed Ona Batlle from Levante.

Former Tottenham goalkeeper Chloe Morgan said the club could do more to fully integrate the women’s team.

A longer read: Stephanie Yang on the mothers competing at the NWSL Challenge Cup, and what parenting is like in the bubble and outside of it for All for XI