George Floyd death 100 days on: Paul Elliott says sport is aligned in fight against racism

“Everybody has come together in a sense of unity and solidarity… Black Lives Matter has been potent and influential,” says FA Inclusion Advisory Board chair.

Paul Elliott, chair of the FA Inclusion Advisory Board, believes sports across the world have become ‘aligned’.

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.

Darren Moore, chair of the Premier League’s BAME advisory group, says players will continue to take the knee as a stance against social injustice when the season resumes – and he believes the movement has momentum to create real change.

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.

Milwaukee Bucks players Sterling Brown and George Hill read out a statement after boycotting their match against Orlando Magic.

“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.

“People of colour have not had a voice. The ugliness that’s come out has reinforced institutional racism, social inequality and injustice.

“People have not had the confidence to speak out until now. We are starting to listen to people and understanding the historical challenges people have had.”

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