Union captain to Congress: 'Do something now' about gun violence

Tim Jimenez
August 05, 2019 - 7:29 am
Philadelphia Union midfielder Alejandro Bedoya (11) celebrates after scoring a goal against the D.C. United during the first half at Audi Field.

Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — While the Philadelphia Union happened to be in our nation's capital for a match Sunday night, team captain Alejandro Bedoya took advantage of the national spotlight to address Congress on the issue of gun violence.

After scoring the opening goal against D.C. United in the third minute, Bedoya grabbed the on-field broadcast mic. 

"Hey Congress. Do something now. End gun violence. Let's go!" he shouted.

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The match was broadcast on Fox Sports 1.

After the game, Bedoya says he believed he had to make a statement. 

"It's absurd, man. I'm not gonna sit idly and watch this stuff and not say something. Before I'm an athlete, before I'm a soccer player, I'm a human being first. This stuff affects me. I got kids," he said. "Thinking about exit strategy. When I'm at a mall, at a movie theater, and a concert, a festival down the street. Big gatherings. Something's gotta be done."

Bedoya talked about being in a group chat with friends back home in Florida. People on the political left, right and center all agreed change was needed, and that he could be the one to make a statement.

"You can maybe do something and have more strength than some of us have. And I said, 'Ok, you know what? You're right. Alright, I'm gonna use my platform.'"

Manager Jim Curtain counts himself among Bedoya's supporters. After the match, he said he stood by the captain. 

"It's outrageous. Things need to change in this country, for sure, and I'll support anyone who speaks their mind and is intelligent and informed on it, every time, Curtain said. "A lot of people will tell me now and will tell (Bedoya) to shut up and stick to sports, and all the stupid lines that come up, but it's crazy. It's crazy in our country right now, and I think it needs to change as well." 

The team also released a statement, saying, "The Philadelphia Union supports Alejandro Bedoya. He is taking a stand." 

And the Major League Soccer Players Association Executive Director Bob Foose tweeted:

"On this tragic weekend, on behalf of all MLS players I want to express my full support for Alejandro Bedoya's exercise of free speech. To paraphrase his post-game comments, before our members are soccer players, they are people. Ale poignantly voiced what so many Americans are feeling right now, which is enormous frustration at our elected leaders' failure to act to protect their citizens."

Asked about the possibility of Major League Soccer fining him for making a political statement Bedoya said, "I don't care. Fine me if they want. I gotta make a stand."