Say No to Racism

UVM men’s soccer alumnus Brian Wright dealing with racist messages
Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 8:24 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - One of the most memorable moments of Brian Wright’s UVM career came in a game against Stony Brook his senior year. After Charlie De Feo settled a ball in the box, Wright slotted home an overtime winner, and removed his jersey to reveal the Black Lives Matter shirt underneath.

This was 2016, back at the start of the whole National Anthem kneeling debate, when such an action would arguably have drawn more blowback than a similar move would now. But for Wright, it was important to make the point.

“Being a male of color, it’s something I’ve dealt with my whole life,” Wright said. “I’ve had talks with Rob (Dow) and stuff like that, and he was asking me how I felt at the time. I just told him, like, ‘Yo, listen Rob, it’s just another day of being black honestly because it’s brought to light and these things happen. And it’s like a week, two weeks go by, and everyone is like all, ‘Hoorah, we need to make changes, blah blah blah,’ and then it gets swept under the rug.”

Here we are five years later, and after a recent game with new club Atletico Ottawa, Wright received a racist message on social media after missing a scoring chance. He says it’s a sign of how far we still have to go, regardless of geography.

“It doesn’t matter where you are or how nice you think where you’re from and you don’t really hear about things,” Wright said. “Racism is racism and it’s everywhere...It is what it is but the more allies we can have that can help us fight those battles where we don’t have to fight it on our own, as soon as possible the better.”

Wright says it’s rare for him to get messages like that but points out how common it is abroad. He’d like to see the larger soccer community take greater steps to address the issue beyond statements of support.

“There’s just too many slaps on the wrist,” Wright said. “I think they need to, the repercussions need to be a lot more severe and serious. Maybe getting banned for life or the club maybe getting a serious fine or something, then they’ll realize like, ‘Ok this is unacceptable. We can’t do this.”

Wright acknowledges that’s out of his hands. The best thing he can do is try and keep people aware and keep scoring goals.

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