A striking image made its way around social media of Michael Bradley being the only starter standing during the Canadian national anthem before an MLS game between Toronto FC (where he’s a captain) and Montreal Impact Friday night:
Tous un genou au sol, sauf Bradley. On respecte toutes les façons de procéder. pic.twitter.com/N1dksMq8IL
— jeremy Filosa 🎙 (@JeremyFilosa) August 29, 2020
Per Google Translate, that tweet in French means, “All one knee to the ground, except Bradley. We respect all methods of proceeding.”
After the game, Bradley was asked about the rationale for the decision, but declined to give a personal explanation.
“It’s obviously something that I’ve thought a lot about,” he said, as transcribed by Yahoo. “I could talk about myself and give you some of my thought process, but it’s not about me. Thirty seconds talking about myself is 30 seconds we should be talking about the real issues. The conversation and the rhetoric that has been created around the decision for people to peacefully protest by kneeling, it’s designed by the people that don’t want change, to take away from the real conversation that we all need to be having every single day.”
“That’s what they want,” Bradley continued. “They want this divisive, hateful rhetoric, conversation where there is no nuance, there is no middle ground. So for me, I will always be a strong voice for racial equality and I will continue to try to do everything I can to use the platform that I have to talk about things I believe are important. When you look at out society right now, it’s heartbreaking to see the systemic racism that still exists after hundreds of years. The social injustice. The police brutality. It all has to end.”
I like Bradley’s answer here — he didn’t need to defend his decision, and he simultaneously had the back of his teammates and opponents who did choose to kneel. Bradley did kneel during a moment of silence after the Canadian anthem, before kickoff.