MLS fans across the continent are set to make a definitive stand against racism.
Immediately after the anthems at the Vancouver Whitecaps v DC United match this weekend, members of the Vancouver Southsiders will raise red cards to show their opposition to racism.
They will not be alone.
In Seattle, members of Gorilla FC will do the same at their March 31st match with San Jose Earthquakes.
An earlier press release from Gorilla FC said:
“We are hoping the Front Office supports this and makes it an even bigger event/display and recognition that Sounders FC takes a stand against Racism.
Our Red Card hold up is on 3/31 vs San Jose after the anthem. Right now, the plan is to have 3000 red cards held up. We are hoping we get 36,000 red cards held up!”
The initial response from Sounders Front Office was promising though a little cautious:
Bart Wiley, Sounders FC Director Business Operations told us:
“The club will work with supporters to message on video boards and possibly through PA announcements exactly what the red card demonstration symbolizes…and possibly more as we talk further.”
The ‘more’ to which Wiley alludes may be to actually assist with the purchase of the cards, rather than leave the cost to Gorilla FC.
If they did do so, 36,000 Sounders fans would be able to demonstrate their opposition to racism. Gorilla FC’s finances are not thought to be able to stretch to financing cards for the whole stadium.
The Sounders Front Office assisted in this way to show goodwill message to both Charlie Davies and Steve Zakuani, paying for cards with their shirt numbers on. It was in fact Sounders minority shareholder Drew Carey who paid for the Davies cards after he responded positively to a fan led initiative.
The Front Office may be waiting to take their lead from Major League Soccer although that is pure conjecture on our part.
The Southsiders and Gorilla FC’s show of principle will spread across North America with all the Supporters Groups who are members of the Independent Supporters Council (ISC) participating.
The move comes as part of the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21.
A Timbers Army spokesman confirmed that they were ‘planning their own thing in support of the ISC initiative and details are still being worked out.’