The United States men’s national team wore an orange stripe during Sunday’s 0-0 friendly draw against Uruguay, in a letter the team sent to Congress to show support for it to pass strict gun control laws. was asked for.
The letter was written in the wake of the mass shooting of 19 schoolchildren and two teachers by an 18-year-old gunman in Uvalde, Texas. The massacre took place 10 days after another teen was shot and killed at a supermarket in a predominantly black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York.
The US House of Representatives is expected to vote on gun control legislation in the coming days.
“With the legislation being considered in the coming days in the House and Senate, we urge you to stand with the majority of Americans who support stronger gun laws,” read part of the letter.
Like scores of other teams in professional sports in the United States this weekend, the orange armbands worn by the USMNT showed support for “Wear Orange Weekend”, an annual event calling for an end to gun violence. was.
“Really proud of the whole group today for the letter sent to everyone in Congress,” said US manager Greg Berhalter after the match. “It’s sometimes easy to get caught up in our little world and what we’re doing and then you forget what’s going on in the outside world, but this group certainly didn’t.
“And you saw the letters and the orange stripes. And everyone’s just tired, and it’s good that this group is asking for action and asking people to make changes, and change is going to happen for some time. To have been a part of it.”
The letter was drawn up at the suggestion of Berhalter, who was inspired by the shot death of Hadiyah Pendleton. At the time of his death in 2013, Pendleton was just 15 years old.
“It’s not only about the mass shootings that you see every day, but it’s about unnecessary gun violence and the children and people who are dying every day,” Barhalter said.
Following Berhalter’s suggestion, the team’s leadership council wrote the initial draft and then took it to the entire team.
“We wanted to take action and really send it to Congress, who can make a difference with these laws and are really proud of the group and the way we’ve moved,” said defender Walker Zimmerman.
Midfielder Christian Pulisic said: “People can say, ‘It’s not the guns, it’s the people,’ but we have to start somewhere. And that’s where we wanted to start.”
The USSF has worked with senior national teams in the past to amplify the social justice message. The men’s national team has adopted the slogan “Be the Change”, which was echoed in the letter, and is wearing warmup gear in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The USWNT has also worn “Black Lives Matter” on its warmups in previous matches. Several USWNT players wore athletic tape emblazoned on their wrists with the words “Protect Trans Kids” during their Shebelievs Cup game against Iceland in February.
The USSF’s board of directors also passed an initial resolution in March to ban discriminatory chanting as it pertains to events organized by the USSF. The resolution was passed at the last meeting of the USSF Rules Committee.
“There are those who say that athletes should not engage in issues that are deemed political,” the letter read. “Certainly, we can all agree that the safety of children in our country is a sacred responsibility shared by all of us.
“We believe it would be irresponsible not to use our platform to raise awareness and call for change. Our activism stems from a need – we are talking about this issue because many of you are taking action. Denies.”