“I am not a politician, but I am a human being” LA Galaxy midfielder Sacha Kljestan said on July 4 in a post-match interview after beating CF Montreal (4-0).
After yet another shooting in America, this time during the July 4 parade in Highland Park, Illinois, seven people were killed and dozens in critical condition. Inside what must have been a tense and awkward conference room, Kljestan begins the interview by stating that it would go against the status quo of what other interviews might have sounded like.
“I’m actually going to keep it very brief and not answer any questions about the game,” said Kljestan. “I have a stomach ache about what happened in Illinois today…It’s a sick vicious cycle that repeats itself over and over again.”
It’s embarrassing, but necessary. I’m sure Kljestan would have preferred to celebrate his team’s victory and answer questions from the passionate sports journalists. Instead, he hit us with today’s reality.
He felt it was necessary to use his platform to bring more attention and concern in society to the still pressing issue of gun violence in America. In 2022 alone, there have already been more than 300 mass shootings. It is only reasonable for people to feel outraged by the fact that lawmakers are not taking steps to reduce this number in the coming years.
The professional soccer player echoed what appear to be the thoughts and feelings of many Americans on the matter under consideration. During his interview, Kljestan also called congressional leaders and senators. It was less of an interview and more of a call to action or a cry for help. “Congress, senators, if anyone sees this, do something about it,” Kljestan said.
Kljestan not only touched on gun violence, but also talked about the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade in response to a question posed by a member of the press kit regarding the decision.
“It’s ridiculous that we have nine people who don’t really represent what the majority of Americans want to make decisions,” Kljestan said.
A system designed to serve its people fails to do just that – something Kljestan felt was worth saying. It’s fascinating, revealing and refreshing to watch athletes, celebrities and other public figures speak out on important issues, even if it’s not their responsibility or obligation.
This underscores the fact that ultimately, we are all human and are all affected in one way or another by the bad decisions and bad leadership that the United States is notoriously known for. It seems that the best leaders are where you least expect them. Using your voice is hugely important – it always has been. Kljestan is a perfect example.
Jose Rivera is a writer for the Bear Bytes blog. Contact him at [email protected].