Alejandro Bedoya scored the opening goal of the match for Philadelphia Union Sunday evening in Washington, DC and as part of a goal celebration picked up a live mic and shouted “Hey Congress… DO SOMETHING NOW, END GUN VIOLENCE…” which was heard loud and clear during Fox Sports 1 national TV broadcast. Post-match Bedoya reiterated his stance, downplayed a fine, and declared the conversation around gun violence as one that must be had.
Following his goal in the third minute of play, Alejandro Bedoya gathered together with his teammates to celebrate what turned out to be a very pivotal opening goal during a 5-1 win. But what happened after the initial celebration captured the attentions of thousands around the nation.
The clip above circulated around twitter and for a solid 15 minutes, reporters (myself included) continued watching the match as if nothing newsworthy occurred. Slowly whispers and murmurs filled the press box as Bedoya’s message was captured and shared over and over again across the internet.
Philadelphia would eventually go on to win the match in dramatic fashion but even a five-goal performance couldn’t detract the attention away from Bedoya’s comments.
Over the past few days, two mass shootings have occurred. One in El Paso, TX and the other in Dayton, OH. The headlines have sent Americans back into a semi-paranoid state wondering when and if another mass shooting will occur. And Bedoya himself has been stuck in that line of thinking more so recently than ever before.
“My wife is Norweigian… stuff like this doesn’t happen in Scandinavia,” said Bedoya post-game when asked about his statement. Norway did suffer a mass shooting of their own, but Bedoya explained these types of tragedies have really taken a toll on he and his wife’s overall state of mind as parents.
“She’s paranoid,” said Bedoya. “To see the news again this morning… it’s absurd. I am not going to sit idly by and watch this stuff happen and not say anything.”
Bedoya was asked multiple follow-up questions, as expected. One question lobbed his way had to do with whether he planned to make a statement beforehand or not. Head Coach Jim Curtin was asked a similar question, but Curtin said Bedoya made no mention of it to him.
Bedoya explained he had a conversation with a group of friends recently about the seemingly never-ending gun violence in America. One friend tempted Bedoya to “use his platform to say something” about the reoccurring tragedies.
Bedoya followed through on the request and so far he’s made some serious impacts and has already spurred a discussion among MLS media members, fellow teammates, fans, coaches, and sports pundits alike.
Curtin stood by his captain when asked about Bedoya’s message. “I am with Ale [Bedoya]. What’s going on in this country is crazy right now,” said Curtin. “Something needs to change.”
But perhaps the most noteworthy post-match exchange from Bedoya and reporters came when the possibility of ramifications – in this case a fine – for his actions. Bedoya, an always passionate player on and off the pitch responded with gusto.
“Fine me! I don’t care. I am a human being before I’m an athlete,”said Bedoya.
And for a moment during the interview, Bedoya expressed firmly that his actions and possible consequences of those actions are not to be worried about. What’s important to Bedoya is that something, anything for that matter, gets done. And by sending a message during a national TV broadcast, Bedoya hopefully started a new discussion. One perhaps, that transcends past conversations in hopes of realizing that change is needed and soon.
Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
Graduate of Pennsylvania State University ’16. Interests include sports and history. Follow on twitter for Philly sports news – @MMcClain_PSN
Philadelphia Union writer.