COVID is preventing play for the FC Buffalo team, but they’re making moves anyways.
Nick Mendola, co-owner of Buffalo’s only professional soccer team did not mix words in a statement on their website. While addressing the team’s rabid fan base, he referred to racism as “a much older and vile pandemic” than COVID.
“Following the reprehensible displays of bigotry in the United States that showed us just how far our country has to go to defeat a fortified enemy like racism, FC Buffalo has engaged in a long process of evaluating how we as a soccer club can best be a part of the solution.”
Mendola lamented the statement that the team made after the horrific killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police was not a strong enough reaction for the club to make. Before taking action, they took their time speaking to current and former players, staffers, and other members of the Black community about their experience. “Our club owes its existence to the contributions of our players and we’re grateful for our discussions with them.”
“The club is addressing this problem on several fronts, both directly helping minority talent in our soccer community and educating the wider culture on diversity and inclusion. Anyone interested in supporting, joining, or funding these initiatives should email email@example.com.
- We’re using Minneapolis-based, minority-owned Stimulus Athletic to produce a special black jersey bearing an “Against Racism” logo atop the back and our city’s street map sublimated into the fabric. At least half of all proceeds will go to the following two initiatives. You can see and buy the Change Kit here. It is presale this week and will take up to five weeks to produce.”
Talking the talk. Walking the walk.
“We’re using Minneapolis-based, minority-owned Stimulus Athletic to produce a special black jersey bearing an “Against Racism” logo atop the back and our city’s street map sublimated into the fabric. At least half of all proceeds will go to the following two initiatives. You can see and buy the Change Kit here. It is presale this week and will take up to five weeks to produce.
We’re allying with local not-for-profit Unite By Night will set up a National Federation for Just Communities of Western New York diversity education and training session for an institution or organization that cannot afford it.
We have begun the process of starting a scholarship in honor of our diverse alumni that will benefit local high school players from our people of color community in pursuit of their academic or professional dreams. Businesses who would like to help us in this endeavor can email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.”
Why these words and these organizations?
“When we were abroad we were struck by German clubs including FC St. Pauli and Borussia Dortmund using the phrase “Gegen Rassismus” or “Against Racism.” There were no plays on words or elaborate mottos needed there. It’s simple, up front, honest, and real.
Unite by Night‘s mission is to support Western New York nonprofits and community stakeholders who combat racism, bias, and discrimination while promoting diversity and inclusion. You can learn more about them at www.unitebynight.com
The National Federation for Just Communities of Western New York (NFJC) is a human relations organization dedicated to overcoming racism, bias, and bigotry by building a just and inclusive community through education, advocacy, and engagement. Since 1951, we have worked with schools, local governments, businesses, agencies, faith groups, and more to strengthen and grow the bonds of community within our richly multicultural region. Now, more than ever, we continue to bridge the gaps that may divide us while creating allies in our mission and work. Their official site is www.nfjcwny.org.”