Mark McKenzie and the United States national football team presented a challenge. Not to the opposition party but to the Congress.
Following the Buffalo and Uvalde gun massacres, the team wrote a letter to Congress in June calling for stronger gun control legislation.
“Our kids are losing their parents and parents are losing their kids,” McKenzie said on NBCLX’s “My Favorite World Cup” podcast.
“It’s a shame. It’s a misfortune. And as a country, we have to get better.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, there were 450 homicides in the US between January and August 2022, defined as shootings in which at least four people, including the assailant, were shot, injured or killed.
On May 24, 2022, 10 days after ten black people were killed in a shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, 19 students and two teachers were killed in a shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
The Uvalde massacre was the 27th incident of school shooting in the US up to that point, according to Education Week, which has tracked school shootings since 2018.
In the days that followed, the US soccer team wrote a letter to Congress, questioning when they would do something about gun violence in America and imploring the House and Senate to “stand with the majority” of Americans who Those who support stricter gun laws will. ,
McKenzie, a defender on the US national team, said he can’t imagine putting a kid on a school bus and then learning to shoot in that school.
“We have fathers in the team, we have mothers in the national team,” McKenzie said. “So think about that, and think about the feelings that are attached to that. I think as a federation it was the right thing for us to take this step as a team. So I can pray that military style More rules should be made to keep firearms and weapons off the streets and out of the wrong hands.”
As members of the national soccer team regularly travel and play abroad, they are often asked how pervasive violence is in America and why elected politicians do nothing to stop it.
Defender DeAndre Yedlin, who will play in the English Premier League from 2015 to 2021, said, “It got to the point where I felt I didn’t know how far I could defend my country, you know what I mean?” Is.” , Being in a country like England, where shooting doesn’t happen, shooting is like “Wow, this is crazy, this is crazy”.
Another defender, Alabama native Chris Richards, who played four years in Germany before joining Crystal Palace in England, feels more secure abroad.
Richards said, “Honestly, it makes me sad because it’s crazy that the place I’ve lived for four years now makes me feel safer than my hometown.” “And whatever is happening with gun violence in general, it is taboo in Germany and Europe in general.”
“There are so many strict laws that you never or almost never hear about school shootings or shootings in general. That’s why my father always tells me that he feels safer with me in Germany or when I come home.”
The team discussed what could be done to inspire change. They opted not to wear T-shirts or post on social media because, according to Yedlin, such methods have become cliched and ineffective.
On June 24, the Senate passed the bipartisan Safe Communities Act, which was signed into law the next day by President Joe Biden. Requires more background checks, adds domestic violence convictions to national monitoring system, sets aside $750 million for crisis intervention, expands registry of licensed gun dealers, and funds $15 billion for mental health and school safety Provides nutrition.
Biden hosted an event to celebrate the approval of the law and former national team player Alejandro Bedoya was in attendance.
“It was a great moment, because it was the first common sense gun legislation to be passed in almost 30 years, so that in itself was huge,” Bedoya said. “But at the same time it was sad because you were seeing so many families at this event who are suffering from gun violence in our country.”
Greg Berheler, coach of the US national football team, congratulated his players for using their platform to call on Congress to take action to stop gun violence.
“Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in our little world and what we do and forget what’s going on in the outside world,” Barhaler said. “And this group didn’t do that.”