Black Lives Matter: USA facing 'deep reckoning', says MLS commissioner Don Garber

Protesters walk with signs near the White House during George Floyd protests on June 6, 2020 in Washington, DC
Image: Protests have taken place around the world in support of the Black Lives Matter movement since the death of George Floyd in May

The United States of America is going through a period of "deep reckoning" amid protests against racial injustice, says Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber.

MLS announced its commitment to address issues of racial inequality, following the death of George Floyd and the subsequent global Black Lives Matter protests, through the introduction of a series of programmes.

Garber, who is yet to offers specifics, says there is determination to "create meaningful change" and a recognition within the league that the "incredible injustices" faced by members of the black population need to be tackled.

The league confirmed on Wednesday that the MLS season - suspended since March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic - would resume on July 8, with a month-long tournament played entirely at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

Asked whether formal statement about the proposed programmes could be made before the season resumes, Garber told Sky Sports News: "It is conceivable that we can get our programmes together before the Disney tournament starts.

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"But we would rather get it right than fast. We are excited about this tournament and we want to really acknowledge that we have announced this tournament while a pandemic is going on and while we have been all managing through this deep reckoning as to what has been going on in our country.

"We have got a lot of things to ensure we get right."

MLS reiterated this week its "longstanding position supporting players' right to peacefully protest during national anthems before games" as a public show of support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

General view of MLS match between Inter Miami and DC United
Image: The MLS season was suspended two weeks into the campaign

Garber admits the spotlight on issues of racial injustice and violence against black men and women in the US have proved a learning experience.

He said: "Even in the midst of trying to get our league back we needed to take a step back and listen and to really engage with the black members of our staffs and our black players to understand that even in getting back to playing games [it] is not more important than listening to and trying to come together to find ways that we could address some of these incredible injustices that have been going on in our country for a long time.

"For me it has been very personal, it has been emotional. These are trying times because of the pandemic, but when you add this recognition that there are things that have been going on in this country that need to stop, I think it has us all paying closer attention to ensure we devote the time to get those programmes I mentioned."

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