MLS: Minnesota United FC at Vancouver Whitecaps FC

VANCOUVER, B.C – In the wake of two mass shootings in the U.S. that killed 31 people in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio last weekend. Philadelphia Union captain, Alejandro Bedoya decided to use his platform as a professional athlete to speak out against gun violence in the U.S. and demand action from U.S. congress.

Bedoya was not fined, he didn’t face criticism for speaking out. A lot of MLS players understand the platform they have, and they support what Bedoya did. The New Jersey, native, created a much needed discussion around the epidemic of gun violence, and mass shootings in the U.S.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC Coach Marc Dos Santos, has personally wondered what he can do himself to help.

“I don’t know Bedoya, but what I’ll tell you. I’ve questioned if I would sit down or stand during the national anthem of the U.S. after what happened. I don’t think it makes a big difference if I stand or sit down. It did cross my mind.”

“I would call it disgusting to live in a world that the U.S is not in an internal war with no one, and it looks like it’s a war out there. Sometimes it looks like a third world country to be honest with you. It’s sad that families go to a shopping centre or a restaurant, and you always have a slight percentage of a guy coming in with a gun, and shooting everybody. It’s sad, it’s disgusting. It’s bad.”

“I understand countries that are in war. I understand that in countries they are fighting for things in the country, and freedom, but it’s not the case in the U.S. – I understand Bedoya and I support what he did.”

Whitecaps FC’s Scott Sutter spent two seasons playing for Orlando City SC. He has lived and traveled all across the U.S. – He isn’t actively thinking about what could happen if he is out shopping, at the movies, or attending a festival. Athletes want to live their lives freely just like everyone else.

Sutter and his teammates were in Ohio celebrating the teams 2-1 victory over FC Cincinnati on Saturday, when they first heard what happened north of them in Dayton.

“Yeah, Dayton was only fifty minutes away from where we were,” Sutter explained. “We were having a couple of drinks in a bar after the win. You just think how scary that can be, and that it could happen to us. It’s such a shame.”

“It’s scary, we were pretty close to that,” Zac MacMath said. “That easily could have been Cincinnati instead of Dayton, or Portland this week. It could be anywhere, and it’s a scary thought. I think it’s something that everyone thinks about now as we travel around the country.”

The 33-year-old Sutter won’t let gun violence dictate the way he lives his life. He enjoys going to the U.S. and he has a lot of happy memories from his time with Orlando. Sutter wants to see change from the powers who are in charge.

“I think there’s a lot of things that need to change,” Sutter explained to Har Journalist. “I had a great couple years living in the States. I love the country, and can imagine living there in the future at some point. It’s a shame, especially when you have families, friends, and kids of your own.”

“You ask, ‘where is it safe anymore,’ The way you can just walk into any big superstore and buy guns, and weapons like that. They need to clamp down on it massively. It’s the people that are in charge in D.C. that need to do that, and get their act together.”

The right to keep and bear arms is something Sutter didn’t grow up with. There isn’t a gun culture in Switzerland. The strict gun laws that exist throughout Europe make it so you can’t go purchase a gun, and shoot people. When Sutter first moved to the U.S. he was shocked by how much access there is for anyone who wants to buy a gun.

“I mean completely different,” Sutter said. “It’s incredible, you walk into a Dick’s Sporting Goods or a Walmart and you’ve got weapons, and guns there. That’s something that us guys in Europe have never had or never seen before. It’s definitely incredible, and just unfortunate the way things are at the moment.”

A native of St. Petersburg, Florida, MacMath, isn’t going to change the way he lives. He will be cautious of course.

“I feel safe pretty much anywhere,” MacMath said. “It really doesn’t change much for me. I guess keeping an extra eye out.”

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