USMNT pushes Congress for stronger gun reform laws
The U.S. men’s national soccer team, hours ahead of a friendly Sunday against Uruguay, posted a letter addressed to members of United States Congress in a plea for stronger gun control measures in light of the recent spate of mass shootings.
“We are writing to join the millions of people around the country who are asking a simple question: When are we going to do something about gun violence in America?” the letter starts. “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 U.S. is still grappling over two high-profile shootings that took place in the span of 10 days: when a white gunman opened fire May 14 in a Buffalo supermarket in a racially motivated attack that killed 10, and when another gunman killed 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, in the deadliest shooting at a U.S. grade school since the 2012 tragedy at Sandy Hook. Since then, there have been multiple other shootings.
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The USMNT features several players who play in Europe and in other countries around the world where the incidence of shootings is disproportionately lower than in the U.S. In their letter, the players spoke about that difference.
“As athletes who have the privilege of traveling the globe representing the greatest country in the world, we are often asked how in a place like the United States there can be such horrific gun violence,” the letter continues.
“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.”
The USMNT has often used its platform to advocate for social change. Also Sunday, the team issued a statement in support of Ukraine, which is still fighting off the Russian invasion that has now surpassed 100 days, after the Ukrainian men’s soccer team lost their bid to go to the World Cup in a match against Wales.
“Our ability to affect change is limited, but yours is not,” the letter continues. “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 letter then urged senators also vote in favor of stronger gun reform so that legislation could go to the Senate floor.
“Please stop choosing campaign contributions over kids’ lives,” the letter says. “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 ever happening again.”