With 100 days past since the death of George Floyd and the surge of the global Black Lives Matter movement, Paul Elliott – chair of the FA Inclusion Advisory Board – reflects on how sports have become “aligned” in the fight against racism.
Floyd was an unarmed black man who died on May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes as Floyd told them “I can’t breathe”.
His death had a massive impact on all sports across the world, with many showing their solidarity, including in the Premier League where players decided to kneel at the start of matches and wear ‘Black Lives Matter’ on the back of their shirts instead of their names, and in the NBA where some players refused to return to focus on the movement.
In an interview with Sky Sports News 100 days after Floyd’s death, the FA’s Inclusion Advisory Board chair Elliott feels the tragic incident has helped bring people together and has brought solidarity across all sports globally.
He said: “Football – and sport – has been a massive contributor to people’s lives, to society, to communities and sportsman from a myriad of diverse sports, football, cricket, NBA, NFL, women’s football – it is aligned, everybody has come together in a sense of unity and solidarity.
“Black Lives Matter has been potent and influential. The players in particular in this country – male and female – this is one area that I think that all of sport has been inextricably aligned.
“Discrimination, racism is something that I have experienced on a massive scale as a footballer, I have witnessed it inside stadiums and it is one area where work has been going on across the Football Association.
“Not just football, but the whole world must be inextricably aligned given the domino effect – the power of football and the power of sport across the whole world.”
Asked what conversations about racial injustice he had been having in the last 100 days since the death of Floyd, Elliott added: “Organisations listening to people.
“The FA are creating some excellent internal groups and they are actually listening to people of colour, understanding their thoughts and feelings, their emotions and experiences. This has been so important.
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