U.S. shows gun control support in Uruguay game

    Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC.

The United States men’s national team wore orange armbands during Sunday’s friendly against Uruguay to show support for a letter the U.S. Soccer Federation sent to Congress asking it to pass stricter gun control legislation.

The letter was written the wake of the mass murder of 19 school children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, by an 18-year-old gunman. That massacre came just 10 days after another teenager shot and killed 10 people at a supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York.

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on gun control legislation in the coming days.

“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 read in part.

The USSF has worked to amplify social justice messaging with the senior national teams in the past. The men’s national team has adopted the “Be The Change” slogan, one that was echoed in the letter, and has worn warm-up gear in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

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The USWNT has also worn “Black Lives Matter” on its warm-ups in past matches. Several USWNT players wore athletic tape on their wrists with the words “Protect Trans Kids” during their SheBelieves Cup game against Iceland back in February.

The USSF board of directors also passed a preliminary resolution back in March banning discriminatory chanting as it relates to USSF-hosted events. The resolution will now be forwarded to the USSF’s rules committee to ensure that it does not conflict with any other policies.

“There are those who say athletes shouldn’t get involved in issues that are deemed political,” the letter read. “Certainly, we can all agree that the safety of the children in our country is a sacred responsibility that is 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 is borne out of necessity — we are talking about this issue because many of you refuse to take action.”

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