Interview with Nashville SC Defender Jalil Anibaba
As I mentioned on Twitter, I'm back writing for The Davis Enterprise once every three weeks with a Sunday column.
My first piece was scheduled to run next Sunday, but then players across the country in professional sports leagues declined to play in games in the NBA, WNBA, MLB, and MLS to protest systemic racism and police brutality. Importantly, those protests came almost exactly four years after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first began kneeling during the national anthem.
When the stories began to come out regarding the protests in MLS, Nashville SC defender Jalil Anibaba was at the forefront. Though his team played Wednesday -- there was no consensus of what players in the league were going to do by kickoff time against Orlando -- Anibaba was quoted in nearly every piece that came out and interviewed on MLS Extratime (Anibaba is a board member of Black Players for Change, a coalition of MLS players fighting against social injustice).
Once I told my editor, he asked me to speak with Anibaba and moved my first column up a week. You can read that column here.
But because of space limitations -- the newspaper only has one sports section a week right now -- I wasn't able to include all of Anibaba's quotes in the piece. What I couldn't fit in, is printed below:
On the decision to protest Wednesday...
“By in large the entire professional sports world in the United States took a stand on Wednesday night. This is a moment in time where you want to be on the right side of history. That’s what you saw from MLS on Wednesday night.”
On speaking up...
"People like to look at certain figures within their community and say that it’s only because of their platform that they’re able to speak on these things or it’s only because of their expertise that they’re able to really speak on these things knowledgeable, adequately and efficiently, but this is so basic that kids on our school grounds all over the country can understand this so people who continue to say that they don’t see it and continue to say that it’s not a problem, are unequivocally the problem.”
On having the support of Nashville SC...
"Here in Nashville, it’s very clear where our club stands on these issues. It’s clear where they’re supporters for us as players and that’s been voiced to me personally, that’s been voiced to our entire team as well and it’s also been shown. That’s something that lightens the load for us in certain aspects and it allows us to effectively move in one accord as far as our club is concerned.”