USMNT’s Gregg Berhalter says players’ letter to Congress on gun measures is about stopping ‘needless’ violence

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U.S. men’s national soccer team coach Gregg Berhalter expressed support for his players who called on Congress to take action following the spate of mass shootings in the country.

The players on Sunday called on lawmakers to vote for stricter gun-control measures as part of the team’s “Be the Change” campaign. Berhalter applauded his players after the team’s draw against Uruguay in a World Cup warm-up.

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Head coach Gregg Berhalter watches during an international friendly soccer match against Uruguay Sunday, June 5, 2022, in Kansas City, Kansas.
(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

“First of all, starting just outside of soccer, just really proud of the entire group today for the letter that was sent to everyone in Congress calling them to action,” Berhalter said. “Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in our little world in what we’re doing and you forget what’s happening in the outside world. This group certainly didn’t do that. You saw the letter and the orange arm bands – everyone’s just tired of it.

“It’s good that this group is asking for action and asking people to make change. ‘Be the Change’ is something we’ve been a part of for a while now and this is just applying it in another area.

“… It’s not only about the mass shootings that you see every day, but it’s about the needless gun violence and the kids and the people that are dying every day.”

Uruguay forward Facundo Pellistri and USA defender Walker Zimmerman battle for the ball Sunday, June 5, 2022, in Kansas City, Kansas.
(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

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In the letter, players told Congress there were bills on the table to address gun control.

“Our ability to affect change is limited, but yours is not,” the letter read. “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 players specifically cited the Texas school shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead.

Uruguay forward Facundo Pellistri and USA midfielder Luca de la Torre chase the ball Sunday, June 5, 2022, in Kansas City.
(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

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“Please stop choosing campaign contributions over kids’ lives,” the letter continued. “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.”

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