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SOCCER

USMNT pens letter to U.S. Congress pleading for stronger gun laws

With the debate over gun control at a standstill and numerous families now mourning the loss of their loved ones, the players of the USMNT have decided enough is enough.

Paul Rudder
Update:
Reggie Cannon along with his USMNT teammates have sent a letter to the United States Congress asking for stronger control.
Omar VegaGetty Images

With outrage continuing to spread around the United States and the wider world, the USMNT are the latest sports team to take a stand against gun violence in the country. This comes after three recent mass shootings, the second of which tragically claimed the lives of 19 children.

USMNT’s Reggie Cannon can’t explain the gun violence of America

As a right back for Portuguese first division side Boavista FC, Texas native and USMNT player Reggie Cannon now lives and plays professional soccer in Europe. Back on May 24th, Cannon like most of us could only watch in horror on TV as news of yet another mass shooting - rather a massacre - in Uvalde, Texas unfolded. Only this time we learned of something truly diabolical and void of humanity when we understood that along with two adults, 19 children had been killed while they sat in their class by an 18 year old gunman.

“Completely distraught” is how Cannon described feeling in the moment he learned of the terrible events that had transpired in his home state, before going on to explain that his Portuguese were “really confused.” Cannon went on to add the he continually asked, “What’s going on in America?” by his teammates when gun violence in the United States makes the news. Sadly Cannon admitted that he tells them that mass shootings are “kind of normal for us.”

USMNT pens letter to U.S Congress asking for stronger gun laws

If there is one positive that Cannon can take, however, it’s that his opinion along with those of his teammates on the U.S roster have helped to pen a letter that was sent by the USMNT to Congress pleading for more steps to be taken to control gun violence in the wake up massacres in Uvalde, Buffalo and elsewhere.

“We are often asked how in a place like the United States there can be such horrific gun violence,” the USMNT wrote. “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. Those who have lost their lives to senseless gun violence — and their families and friends that are left grieving — are very much in our thoughts and prayers. But like the all-too-often moments of silence that we use at our matches to honor the victims, our thoughts and prayers won’t solve this problem,” the letter continues. “Beyond the death and crippling injuries, the gun violence causes so much more damage to the mental health of children, their parents, teachers, and all Americans who worry whether they or someone they love will be among the next victims of a mass shooting.”

What did the USMNT’s letter say to Congress directly?

On Thursday House Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirmed that her house of Congress will vote on sweeping gun-control legislation this coming week. The Democrat-controlled house is expected to pass those bills, but Senate Republicans are expected to block them.

“To members of the United States Senate,” the USMNT letter continued, “a small group of your colleagues from both parties are working to craft a legislative proposal that will need the support of 60 out of 100 Senators to pass. Please stand up and say you will vote yes on gun legislation, so that a bill can go to the Senate floor, and the House and Senate can then work together to finalize legislation that does more than the bare minimum and will bring about a meaningful reduction in gun violence.” Interestingly the players also acknowledged that “there are those who say athletes shouldn’t get involved in issues that are deemed political. “...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.”

“Families in Uvalde, Texas, are in the process of burying 19 children and 2 teachers. Please stop choosing campaign contributions over kids’ lives. 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.” The letter was released to the public 90 minutes prior to their International Friendly against Uruguay in Kansas City.

Reggie Cannon wants to see change

“This group is going to look at every opportunity they can to be able to make change, to be able to create change, to be able to spark conversation,” Cannon said earlier this week. The right back conceded that the conversation surrounding gun violence has to date been fruitless. “I think this is the biggest call there is for change,” he said of the renewed push after the shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. “Because this has been such a hard thing to deal with, and I can’t imagine the families and the kids that obviously have suffered from this tragedy.”

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