Lilian Thuram also knows what it’s like to be a victim of racism – and an interview with Illustrated sportsBrian Straus released Thursday, the legendary French player named Black Players for Change of the MLS as a model that Europe would do well to adopt.
“When I was playing football and there was a racist incident in the stadium,” Thuram recalls, “when I went back to the locker room, a lot of times what happened was some of the guys were coming in, the white guys. were coming, pat me on the back and say ‘Sorry about that’ or ‘Don’t worry about that’.
“I’m like, ‘This has to change.’ But even when the reporters told me, “Oh, what should we do Lilian? This must change. What to do ?’ My attitude is, ‘Don’t ask me. I’m the person who gets that rude remark or whatever. I’m the person taking this. Ask the white players. Ask the white players why they don’t say anything about it. Ask the white players what they are going to do about it.
Thuram came to the conclusion that Black players for change basically came last summer training: Those who want change can’t wait for others to do it.
“People who suffered from racism could never expect anyone to do anything for them,” Thuram told Straus via a translator. “They did it themselves. You need to be very clear about your desire for change. You have to stand up and you have to lead the change.
Thuram launched a foundation bearing his name, committed to the fight against racism, sexism, homophobia and discrimination through education. Last month, Thuram and Justin Morrow of BPC (a Cleveland native who plays for Toronto FC) had the opportunity to connect, and upon learning what BPC does and does, Thuram was moved.
“I am unsettled by Black Players for Change because I don’t think such a thing would be accepted in France today,” said Thuram, stressing that there is a culture in France and throughout Europe that is discouraging black people to express themselves.
“What Thuram sees in BPC is a proactive and courageous commitment to provide support and generate strength in numbers,” Straus wrote in his article. “BPC, which now has over 170 members, is proof that it can be done.”