LA Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget has been paying close attention to the ongoing struggle to end racial injustice in this country, resulting in games being postponed in various major leagues this week after the shooting of an unarmed black man — Jacob Blake — by police in Kenosha, Wisc., and he couldn’t help but think of two people in particular.
Cameron Dunbar and Diedie Traore are the Galaxy’s lone black players and Lletget admitted he was concerned about their well-being. He wanted to let them know their teammates were behind them, which partly was the reason why Wednesday’s game against Seattle at Dignity Health Sports Park was postponed.
Lletget said the plan was to play their next game Saturday at Dignity Health Sports Park against the San Jose Earthquakes (7:30 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet Overflow Channels), but he cautioned there are ongoing discussions about what to do.
Emotions continue to be raw concerning the racial strife festering around the country. Veteran Sacha Klejstan even went on Twitter Wednesday with a 2 1/2-minute message calling for action to end racial injustice.
“If boycotting the game tonight,” he said, “brings about an ounce of the much-needed change we need right now, it will be worth it.”
Lletget continued that thought with reporters on Friday.
“If one of our brothers is hurting, we have to be all together. It doesn’t matter what team we play for or what skin color we are,” he said. “That was the message.
“Again, just push the message. I think it’s important that we keep doing that. Some people may think why, but it’s really tough for us players, man. It’s a really sensitive time. We’re learning as we go, we’re educating ourselves. It’s uncharted territory for everyone.”
All Lletget needed to realize the hardships facing the nation’s minorities was to witness the reactions of Dunbar and Traore this week.
“I know they are hurting,” he said. “We’re all hurting … for them. It takes a lot of courage, man … it’s tough. The look on their faces really said 1,000 words to all of us. We needed to back them up. Even though they’re not speaking, you know, in front of everybody or saying how they feel, I think we can read them and feel their body language.
“It’s another reason why we chose not to play Wednesday. Everyone was in unison of that. Hopefully, they can have the confidence and we can give them confidence to speak their mind. We’re here for them.”
Lletget said he hoped this week’s actions by professional athletes — inside and outside of Major League Soccer — will have a far-reaching effect.
“For all of us, we want to see change,” he said. “We’re hurting. I’m a white male. I’m Hispanic, but to everyone else, I’m white. We have two black players on my team, and they’re hurting. They see what’s going on. One is French, but this is a global thing. Not just a global pandemic, but we’re going through global racism.
“In this country in particular, it’s been a really rough time. I think a lot of people are waking up to reality. Sadly, it’s been going on for far too long. It’s been tough to focus on the game, to be honest. It’s a really sensitive topic for me. I’m still learning. I have many friends who are going through a rough time, but I’m hurting with them.
“Every day I just try to educate myself a little more,” he added. “We just have to do a little more every day.”
Galaxy head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto relayed a similar viewpoint when he spoke to reporters in Spanish.
“As humans, we have to do whatever we can to turn a light on what is happening to try to avoid that it keeps happening,” he said. “Not only in this country, we should work in ways to find a more just world”
Schelotto said midfielder Jonathan dos Santos, who returned to action in last Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Los Angeles FC following a long layoff after sports hernia surgery, was fine and could see even more playing time against San Jose.
Striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, who is recovering from a strained calf suffered in the recent MLS Is Back tournament in Orlando, Fla., returned to the training field for a limited workout Friday. Schelotto said he hopes he’ll be ready for more rigorous sessions next week.