Charlie Riedel / AP
During a friendly soccer match against Uruguay on Sunday, the US men’s national team wore orange armbands to raise awareness of gun violence and call on elected leaders in the United States to pass further restrictions on gun ownership.
In addition to the on-field display, the team also sent a letter to all members of Congress urging them to support stricter gun legislation in the aftermath of several recent mass shootings across the country.
“Our ability to affect change is limited, but yours is not,” the letter from the players and staff reads. “You could vote this week to address gun violence in America, and in fact, you will be given that opportunity.”
The House is expected to take up a package of gun bills in the coming days, and a bipartisan group of Senators is also negotiating over potential firearms legislation in that chamber.
The team’s demonstration came during a particularly violent weekend. At least 15 people were killed and another 60 were wounded by gunfire in eight states, which followed closely behind two recent mass shootings in Buffalo, NY, and Uvalde, Texas.
Players wore orange as part of a national effort championed by the group Everytown for Gun Safety to raise awareness of the ongoing gun violence across the US The vibrant color is a nod to the orange apparel worn by hunters to keep themselves and others safe in the woods .
“Everyone’s just tired of it. And it’s good that this group is asking for action and asking people to make change,” US men’s national team head coach Gregg Berhalter said.
“It’s not just about the mass shootings that you see every day,” he added, “but it’s just about the needless gun violence and the kids and the people that are dying every day.”