The US Men’s soccer team wants to “be the change” in the gun control conversation. The team wore orange arm bands in a friendly match against Uruguay on Sunday as part of the “Be the Change” gun control campaign. They also penned an open letter to congress calling for the passage of more gun-control laws.
The team wore orange arm bands in collaboration with Every Town For Gun Safety, a gun-control activist and lobbying group. Every Town was also behind the Tampa Bay Ray’s controversial social media campaign last week. The Wear Orange Weekend was started in 2020 in response to George Floyd’s death.
Before the match against Uruguay, the team shared an open letter on it’s official Twitter account that calls on Congress to pass a package of eight new gun-control laws being considered in the House this week.
“With legislation being considered in the coming days in the House and Senate, we implore you to stand with the majority of Americans who support stronger gun laws,” the letter states. “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.”
“Please vote yes on all the bills being considered.”
The letter accuses congressman who don’t support gun control legislation of being motivated by campaign contributions and re-election. Notably missing from the letter is any mention of the 2nd Amendment or the Constitutional right to bear arms.
The letter does not make specific policy recommendations but pleads for lawmakers to pass any gun legislation “that does more than the bare minimum and will bring about a meaningful reduction in gun violence.”
“Please stop choosing campaign contributions over kids’ lives,” the letter states. “Stop being steered by some misguided notion that voting for gun reform legislation – or even refusing to talk about it in the first place – will get you voted out of office. Instead, do what is necessary to prevent this from happening again.”
“We want to be a team that takes action and has a response,” center-back Walker Zimmerman said. “I’m proud of the group in the way that we’re standing up for what we believe in.”
“Everyone’s just tired of it,” U.S. men’s national team head coach Gregg Berhalter said after the match. “And it’s good that this group is asking for action and asking people to make change.”
The House Judiciary Committee passed a package of eight bills on Wednesday that would raise the minimum age for gun purchase from 18-21, prohibit civilian use of high-capacity magazines and bump stocks, create background checks for ghost guns and would also promote safe storage of firearms. The package was passed in a 25-19 vote and next heads to the Senate.
In the Senate Chris Murphy (D-CN) and John Cornyn (R-TX) are working to find common ground for a package of gun violence laws that might gain bi-partisan support. Senator Murphy has made clear that banning assault style weapons and universal background checks are off the table.
Senator Murphy told CNN on Sunday that the bipartisan negotiations are focusing on mental health funding, school safety measures, and modest but impactful gun control proposals.
The USMNT join a growing list of celebrities and athletes who are calling for change after the shooting at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr has been outspoken in his views on increasing gun control.
San Francisco Giants coach Gabe Kapler said he would skip the National Anthem in protest of gun violence. Boston Celtic’s Jaylen Brown even said NBA players could boycott the NBA finals in protest for increased gun control laws.
What do you make of the US Men’s National Team’s statement?