Football: Alejandro Bedoya celebrates goal with powerful anti-gun violence message

An American Major League Soccer star has used his goal celebration as a platform to send a stern message regarding gun violence prevention.

After scoring for the Philadelphia Union against DC United in the US capital, Alejandro Bedoya rushed to one of the television broadcast microphones used to pick up on-field noise and yelled clearly to the viewing audience.

"Congress, do something now," said Bedoya. "End gun violence, let's go!"

His message comes after two mass shootings in the country in the past two days, with a total of 29 people killed in two separate incidents in Dayton and El Paso.

A veteran of 66 games for the US men's national team, Bedoya has been an outspoken advocate for stricter gun-control measures.

He grew up in Weston, Florida, close to Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 students were killed in a 2018 mass shooting. In the game after that tragedy, he wore an 'MSD Strong' shirt underneath his jersey.

In the post-match press conference, Bedoya explained his motivations and the impact that the shootings have had on him personally.

"I'm not gonna sit idly and watch this stuff, and not say something," he said. "Before I'm an athlete, before I'm a soccer player, I'm a human being first.

"This stuff affects me. I've got kids." 

"I'm dropping my kids off at school and I'm looking around, as a parent, thinking about an exit strategy. When I'm at the mall, when I'm at at a movie theatre, when I'm at a concert, at a festival down the street or at big gatherings. 

"Something's got to be done. It's got to the point where we almost become numb to it and that's a big problem." 

After Monday's game, the Fox network, who owns the rights to screen MLS Soccer, came under fire for omitting Bedoya's message from the video highlights of the goal shared on its Twitter feed, inspiring a flurry of outraged responses.

"Shame on you," said one user.

"Cowards," said another, while several simply replied with "END GUN VIOLENCE NOW".



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