The recent shootings have prompted many celebrities, musicians, and athletes to voice their concerns to Congress, asking for stricter gun control legislation. The United States Men’s National team let the world know about their call for gun control in their friendly draw against Uruguay when they wore orange armbands to stand in solidarity for the cause.
Following the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, the national soccer team penned a letter to Congress.
“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.”
The USMNT was not alone on the weekend as other teams across various professional sports in the United States wore orange armbands to stand in solidarity with “Wear Orange Weekend,” an annual event that calls for the end to gun violence.
The team drafted the letter after U.S. manager Greg Berhalter suggested it. The manager was motivated by the shooting of Hadiyah Pendleton, who was only 15 when she died in 2013.
“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.
It was not the first time such a movement made waves across the sport, as the United States Soccer Federation has worked hard in the past to incorporate social justice messaging with the senior national teams. For example, the USMNT adopted the “Be the Change” slogan, which was echoed in the letter and has worn warmup gear that supports the Black Lives Matter movement.