In our exclusive interview with the French legend in the latest issue of FourFourTwo, Henry talked at length about his experiences of racism and discrimination.
When Montreal played their first match at the MLS Is Back tournament in Florida, Thierry Henry took the knee for eight minutes, 46 seconds after kick-off.
That was the same length of time that a white police officer had fatefully knelt on George Floyd’s neck in Minneapolis two months earlier, sparking widespread protests about racial injustice across the US.
Henry has previously said that, during his playing days in MLS, he felt some Manhattan taxi drivers – oblivious of who he was – opted not to stop for him because of his ethnicity. Placed on a table in his home, Henry has a picture of Tommie Smith’s iconic Black Power salute at the 1968 Olympics, and is a keen supporter of the Black Lives Matter cause.
“It’s very important for me, and the black community, but something has changed recently,” he says. “At the beginning, you could see other people tagging along because they had to, but I see a lot of people now really feeling our pain, feeling that enough is enough – enough of racism in any community.
“I don’t understand how this type of thing can still happen, especially so openly. I don’t know if I’m going to be around to see it, but eventually I hope it will stop one day.
“Kwame Ampadu, Wilfried Nancy and Patrice Bernier were on our bench at Montreal. Four black guys on the bench – I didn’t even think about it until someone told me. I didn’t go for colours – I simply went for what I and the football club needed – but it does represent the town well, because there are so many communities in Montreal. I don’t know if there are a lot of other teams who have four black coaches sat on their bench.”
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