Bedoya calls out Congress on shootings after goal
Philadelphia Union captain Alejandro Bedoya used his goal celebration in Sunday's MLS game at D.C. United to call on Congress to act on gun violence, following a pair of mass shootings in the U.S. this weekend.
After scoring at Audi Field in the nation's capital, Bedoya ran toward the corner of the field, grabbed an on-field television microphone and shouted into it.
"Hey Congress, do something now. End gun violence. Let's go!" he said.
The comment was easily heard on FS1's broadcast of the game but was not audible for the majority of those in attendance at the stadium.
Bedoya's remarks come in the wake of a shooting Saturday in El Paso, Texas, that left 20 dead and more than two dozen injured, and one in Dayton, Ohio, in the early hours of Sunday morning that killed nine people and injured at least 27.
MLS confirmed to ESPN FC and other outlets on Monday that Bedoya will not be fined or suspended for his actions.
"The Major League Soccer family joins everyone grieving for the loss of lives in Texas and Ohio, and we understand that our players and staff have strong and passionate views on the issue," the league said in a statement on Monday afternoon.
Before the game, Bedoya had posted on Twitter the first steps he thought policymakers could take to help curb gun violence.
Bedoya said after the Union completed a 5-1 win that a friend suggested he use his platform as a professional athlete to spread his feelings on the issue, but he did not plan to run to the microphone before he scored the goal.
"It's absurd, man," Bedoya told reporters. "I'm not going to sit idly and watch this stuff happen 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. I can't be the only one here -- all you guys, I'm sure feel the same way."
Asked if he thought he would face any discipline from MLS for his statement into the microphone, Bedoya said, "I don't care. Fine me if they want. You know what? I've got to make a stand."
Union manager Jim Curtin said he supported Bedoya for "speaking against a true issue."
"A lot of people will tell me now and tell Ale to stick to sports and all the stupid lines that come up, but it's crazy," Curtin said. "It's crazy in our country right now, and I think it needs to change, as well."
In a statement to ESPN, MLS Players Association executive director Bob Foose expressed his "full support for Alejandro Bedoya's exercise of free speech."
The Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians were among the Major League Baseball teams to hold a moment of silence for the victims before their games Sunday. During a similar observance at the Arizona Diamondbacks game in Phoenix, one fan interrupted the silence by shouting, "How about doing something about it?" -- and received scattered applause.
NASCAR also observed a moment of silence before Sunday's race in Watkins Glen, New York. The U.S. women's national soccer team took a moment to remember the El Paso victims before Saturday night's game against Ireland at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
Bedoya, 32, is a United States international who last played for the national team in 2017. He is from Weston, Florida, a short distance from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the site of another mass shooting in February 2018. Following that incident, Bedoya wore a shirt reading "MSD Strong" under his jersey for last season's opening game.
He said Sunday the Stoneman Douglas shooting "definitely" affected how he looks at gun violence.
"Something's gotta be done," Bedoya said. "It's gotten to the point where we've almost become numb to it, and that's a big problem."
ESPN's Jeff Carlisle contributed to this report.