After finding the back of the net in Aug. 4’s win over D.C. United, Alejandro Bedoya, who roams the midfield for the Philadelphia Union soccer team, took the microphone to send a message to Congress about gun violence.
“Congress, do something now. End gun violence!” Bedoya shouted into the microphone. “Let’s go!”
The midfielder was alluding to the two mass shootings that plagued the nation over the weekend, leaving 29 dead both in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.
These tragedies hit home for Bedoya, who has been with the Union since 2016 and is a member of the U.S. National Team. He grew up in Florida and competed against Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, where 17 people were killed in a shooting last year. During the 2018 season home opener, Bedoya honored the 17 victims by wearing a Stoneman Douglas shirt under his jersey.
After Aug. 4’s game, the Major League Soccer Player Association Executive Director Bob Foose tweeted in support of Bedoya.
“On this tragic weekend, on behalf of all MLS players I want to express my full support for@AleBedoya17’s exercise of free speech. To paraphrase his post-game comments, before our members are soccer players, they are people,” he said.
This support for Bedoya from the M.L.S. stands out in stark contrast against the quelling of political activism the N.F.L. is known for.
After the game, Bedoya said he did not care what repercussions he could possibly face from the league for his protest.
“I don’t care,” he said. “Fine me if they want. You know what? I’ve got to make a stand. I’m a human being before I’m an athlete … We’re all affected by this type of stuff.”
The M.L.S. announced Aug. 4 it would not only not punish Bedoya, but would also make him player of the week.
The United was not the only D.C. sport team to witness political activism. Before the national anthem during their game in Arizona, the public announcer requested a moment of silence to honor the memories of those shooting victims.
A fan shouting, “how about doing something about it?” was met with applause of approval.