Aston Villa and England defender Tyrone Mings says he’s “thankful” to have seen his work in the fight against racial injustice recognised, after being named on the Football Black List for 2020.
The Aston Villa centre-back joined the likes of Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford, Crystal Palace players Wilfried Zaha and Chloe Morgan on the list, from which members were honoured during a virtual ceremony on Tuesday.
Figures from all sections of the sport, including Sky Sports News journalists Charlene Gravesande and Jessica Creighton, were honoured.
The Football Black List was founded by Rodney Hinds and Leon Mann in 2008 and members are selected by an expert panel from the Black community and football industry.
Mings, who said he was “honoured and thankful” to be included on the list, was at the forefront as football played its part in the battle against racial injustice during 2020.
The 27-year-old was among the first group of Premier League players to take a knee before a match as Villa took on Sheffield United in June. He then questioned the decision for the Black Lives Matter logo to be replaced on shirts for the 2020-21 season and also helped to create the Football Association’s Leadership Diversity Code.
“This is obviously a tough year for us all but especially with everything that’s going on socially and culturally it’s a really important year and I think that a lot is changing,” Mings said.
“This year especially I’m so fortunate that everything that’s gone on in football and out of football, the work that we’ve worked so hard to put in this year, has been recognised.
“Not only by this award but also with things like the diversity code, and everything else – Black Lives Matter movement, everything that’s been going on this year that’s really highlighted the injustices that unfortunately Black people are facing.
“I think we still have a very long way to go but we’re half the way there, we’re doing great work and as long as we all keep pulling in the right direction, I’m sure better change will come.”
Sky Sports News Special Projects journalist Charlene Gravesande was honoured alongside Sky Sports football pundit Micah Richards in the media category.
Gravesande produced a video for Sky Sports News chronicling the sporting world’s involvement in the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a US police officer knelt on his neck in May.
The powerful video, which was released 100 days after Floyd’s death, ran for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the same length of time that it was initially reported the officer had knelt on his neck for.
“It’s been a really hard year for everybody, and I know how hard everybody has worked within our community and how draining it has felt at times,” Gravesande said.
“It’s been really difficult as you can imagine for me as well, but this new special projects team, we do content relating to race, diversity and inclusivity, and that George Floyd VT has made such a massive impact and I’m so glad that it had such a positive message and a positive effect on people.”
"The killing of George Floyd took place thousands of miles away, but his cries that he could not breathe were heard all around the world."
From raised fists on the podium to teams taking a knee, the world of sport has been at the forefront of the #BlackLivesMatter movement… pic.twitter.com/zC1EvtRtyi
Richards has quickly become one of Sky Sports’ most popular football pundits since his retirement from the sport in July 2019.
“I’m so pleased to be named on the Football Black List,” Richards said. “It’s been a whirlwind 18 months for me. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to do after football but I absolutely love the media side of things.
“Playing football was the greatest possible thing I could ever do, but this seems like the next best step for me in my life.
“It’s been a difficult year for everyone but tonight presents a great opportunity to come together and celebrate Black excellence, and highlight the heroes within the community.”
Elsewhere on the list, Edleen John, who sits on The FA’s leadership team, Aston Villa Women sporting director, Eniola Aluko, and QPR director of football, Les Ferdinand, feature in the senior administration section.
The list also celebrates Football v Homophobia Education Lead, Annette Nelson, who becomes the first recipient of a new LGBT+ Award.
“I want to say a really big thank you to the Football Black List for giving me this award,” Nelson said.
“I’d also like to say how important I think it is for the work of the LGBT community to be acknowledged in this area, particularly the work of Black people who have worked in football for such a long time, and quite often their work goes unacknowledged.”
The full Football Black List
Cyrille Regis Players: Chloe Morgan, Crystal Palace Women; Marcus Rashford MBE, Manchester United and England; Troy Deeney, Watford; Tyrone Mings, Aston Villa and England; Wilfried Zaha, Crystal Palace and Ivory Coast
Administration: Edleen John, Director of International Relations, Corporate Affairs and Diversity – The FA; Eniola Aluko, Sporting Director – Aston Villa FC Women; Jade Morgan, General Manager – Leicester City Women; Les Ferdinand MBE, Director of Football – Queens Park Rangers; Marie Gabriel CBE, Chairperson – West Ham United Foundation
Coaching and Management: Alex Dyer, Manager – Kilmarnock FC; Ashley Bosah & Cornelius Nwadialor, Joint Managers – Tooting & Mitcham FC; Jason Euell, Under 23 Head Coach – Charlton Athletic FC; Karleigh Osborne, Women’s Head Coach – Brentford FC; Tony Whelan, Assistant Academy Director – Manchester United
Commercial: Ashanti George-Faure, Senior Talent Manager – Refresh Sports; Faina Msellem, Sports Industry Advisory Board Member – Birkbeck Sport Business Centre; Marvin Morgan, Founder – Fresh Ego Kid; Nathan Thompson, Commercial Director – West Ham United; Warren Haughton, Director, Haughton Consultancy
Community and Grassroots: Diane Sawyers, Operations Manager – Holford Drive Community Sports Hub; Duke Harrison-Hunter, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Officer – Pompey in the Community; Emma Trent, Head of Programmes – Notts County Football in the Community; Harold Bennett, Founder – North London United; Dr Michael Seeraj, Head of Equality Diversity & Inclusion – Charlton Athletic FC
LGBT+: Annette Nelson, Education Lead – Football v Homophobia
Media: Carl Anka, Football Reporter – The Athletic; Charlene Gravesande, Special Projects Journalist – Sky Sports; Hugh Woozencroft, Sports Broadcaster – talkSPORT; Jessica Creighton, Sports Reporter – Sky Sports; Micah Richards, Freelance Broadcaster
Practitioners: Hayley Bennett, Founder – WeAreNutmegs; Jason Lee, Equalities Education Executive – PFA; Marvin Robinson, CEO – Peterborough United Foundation; Dr Matt Ogunsanya, Club Doctor – Watford FC; Sam Allison, National Group Referee – PGMOL
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