Slowly, the American soccer community is making its feelings known about President Trump’s controversial travel ban, which has sparked global outrage and countrywide demonstrations.
On Sunday, United States men’s national team captain Michael Bradley posted a message on Instagram that was highly critical of the president. The midfielder declared himself to be “sad” and “embarrassed.”
“When Trump was elected,” Bradley wrote, “I only hoped that the President Trump would be different than the campaigner Trump. That the xenophobic, misogynistic and narcissistic rhetoric would be replaced by a more humble and measured approach to leading our country. I was wrong. And the Muslim ban is just the latest example of someone who couldn’t be more out of touch with our country and the right way to move forward.”
A photo posted by Michael Bradley (@michaelbr4dley) on Jan 28, 2017 at 11:02pm PST
On Monday followed a statement from Major League Soccer’s Players Union, supporting Bradley and amplifying his point with similar views.
“We are deeply concerned, both specifically for our players who may be impacted, and more broadly for all people who will suffer as a result of the travel ban implemented on Friday,” wrote the union. “Details on the practical impact of the ban are still emerging, and we are still sorting through the potential impact on our players and their families.
“We are extremely disappointed by the ban and feel strongly that it runs counter to the values of inclusiveness that define us as a nation. We are very proud of the constructive and measured manner in which Michael Bradley expressed his feelings on the ban. It is our deepest hope that this type of strong and steady leadership will help to guide us through these difficult times.”
The travel ban, if it is indeed upheld and enforced, could have considerable consequences for MLS players.
Currently, about half of them are foreign, making MLS the most diverse sports league in the U.S. While only two of those players have passports from the seven countries now banned – Justin Meram and Steven Beitashour were both born in the U.S. but represent the national teams of Iraq and Iran, respectively – it’s hardly inconceivable that the ban will be extended to other countries. And consider that regular league games take teams across the border to Canada regularly, while continental competition in the CONCACAF Champions League requires travel across the other border to the south.
We’ll keep you posted if more major actors speak out.
Leander Schaerlaeckens is a soccer columnist for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter @LeanderAlphabet.