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The USMNT Showed Strong Sentiments for Gun Control On and Off the Pitch In a Friendly Match on Saturday

Gun control
The US soccer team wore orange armbands to show solidarity for gun control

Gun violence in America has been a prevalent issue for years. The recent string of shootings prompted many celebrities to voice their concerns about stricter gun control legislation across social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook. One specific instance was when the United States Men’s National Team let everyone know they were taking sides by wearing orange armbands during their match against Uruguay, which symbolizes solidarity with cause( Gun Control).

The national soccer team wrote a letter to Congress at the behest of their manager. His sentiments were shared by his players, who wrote the following:

“We are often asked how in a place like the United States there can be such horrific gun violence,” the letter started. “We are also asked why the representatives of the people do nothing even though most Americans want them to take action. Those of us who play professionally abroad experience none of these things in our daily lives, yet we return home to a place where mass shootings are frighteningly common, and the victims are often defenseless children.”

“Those who have lost their lives to senseless gun violence — and their families and friends that are left grieving — are very much in our thoughts and prayers. But like the all-too-often moments of silence that we use at our matches to honor the victims, our thoughts and prayers won’t solve this problem. Beyond the death and crippling injuries, the gun violence causes so much more damage to the mental health of children, their parents, teachers, and all Americans who worry whether they or someone they love will be among the next victims of a mass shooting.”

“Our ability to affect change is limited, but yours is not. You could vote this week to address gun violence in America, and in fact, you will be given that opportunity. In the coming days, the U.S. House of Representatives is voting on several bills that would address this serious issue. Please vote yes on all the bills being considered.”

In an effort to raise awareness for gun violence prevention, teams in various professional sports leagues across the United States were asked by organizers of “Wear Orange Weekend” this year – a day where all orange shirts should be seen as opposition against guns – to wear solidarity armbands.

USMNT manager Greg Berhalter was motivated by the shooting of 15-year old Hadiyah Pendleton in 2013 to draft this letter. He felt that it is important for athletes and fans alike, no matter their age or background, whether they be black or white, rich or middle classed, to take a stand against the ongoing violence.

“It’s not only about the mass shootings that you see every day, but it’s just about the needless gun violence and the kids and the people that are dying every day,” he explained.

The United States Soccer Federation has worked hard in the past to incorporate social justice messaging with their senior national teams. For example, “Be The Change” was adopted as a slogan for this letter and players wore warmup gear that supported the Black Lives Matter movement.

Opinions expressed by Portland News contributors are their own.