The only two Black coaches in the top 20 soccer teams in Brazil made a stand against racism in the sport by joining forces.
Coaches Marcao and Roger Machado might be competitors on the field, but their thirst for victory came second to a very worthy cause. According to the Associated Press, both men wore matching shirts signifying their commitment to ending racism in soccer. Their gesture was part of an anti-racism campaign to address the lack of Black coaches in a Black-dominated sport.
✊🏾 Mais uma vez, vestimos a camisa do @ObRacialFutebol! Não deveria ser assim, mas o jogo marca o encontro dos dois únicos técnicos negros da Série A #ChegaDePreconceito #BBMP pic.twitter.com/48iJpgfBCC— Esporte Clube Bahia (@ECBahia) October 12, 2019
"We should not get so much repercussion for two great Black coaches on the touchline, playing leadership roles on the pitch," Machado said according to the AP. "Today we see women in sport, but how many Black women are in the media talking about sport? If there is no prejudice, what is the answer to that?"
Nonprofit Observatorio da Discriminacao Racial no Futebol has sought to provide answers to these questions since 2014. The Porto Alegre-based organization provides educational resources for soccer players to combat racism. They also monitor cases where racism is present.
"My position as a Black man in soccer's elite confirms [there is prejudice]," 44-year-old Machado told the AP. "The biggest prejudice I face is not the insults. I feel there is racism when I go into a restaurant and I am the only Black man. I was the only black in my class in college. That is proof for me."
According to The Sun, Brazilian prisons are made up of about 70% Black inmates. The country's history of slavery and continued racism against Black people prevents the descendants of enslaved people from rising to positions of power. In regards to soccer, there are few Black coaches.
"If there is no prejudice in Brazil, why do Blacks spend less time in school than whites? ... Why do Blacks get paid less? ... There are several kinds of prejudice."