The USA soccer captain, Michael Bradley, has attacked Donald Trump’s executive order, which bans travel to the US from seven Muslim-majority countries.
When Trump won the presidential election in November, Bradley said it was important “to give our president support”. However, Trump’s latest decision caused Bradley to speak out in an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl and then on his Instagram page.
“A few hours ago ago I gave an interview to Grant Wahl,” wrote Bradley, who has made more than 125 appearances for the men’s national team. “After 15 minutes of an interview that was centered around soccer and our national team, he asked me my thoughts on President Trump’s ban on Muslims … I gave an answer where I tried to make it clear that while I understand the need for safety, the values and ideals of our country should never be sacrificed. I believe what I said, but it was too soft.
“The part I left out is how sad and embarrassed I am. When Trump was elected, I only hoped that … President Trump would be different than the campaigner Trump. That the xenophobic, misogynistic and narcissistic rhetoric would be replaced with a more humble and measured approach to leading our country. I was wrong. And the Muslim ban is just the latest example of someone who couldn’t be more out of touch with our country and the right way to move forward.”
Bradley is known for speaking out on social issues. After the Orlando shootings at a gay nightclub last year, he wore a rainbow armband during a US game to show solidarity with the LGBT community. USA play Serbia on Sunday afternoon in a friendly international, with Bruce Arena making his return as USMNT coach.
On Saturday, the NBA reached out to the US Department of State to clarify how Trump’s orders will affect its players. The LA Lakers’ Luol Deng and the Milwaukee Bucks’ Thon Maker were born in Sudan (now South Sudan), one of the countries under the banning order. Deng and Maker are dual nationals of Great Britain and Australia respectively and Maker travelled back from a game against the Toronto Raptors on his Australian passport with no issues on Friday.
“We have reached out to the State Department and are in the process of gathering information to understand how this executive order would apply to players in our league who are from one of the impacted countries,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement. “The NBA is a global league and we are proud to attract the very best players from around the world.”
The NBA contains a number of Muslim players one of whom, the Brooklyn Nets’ Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, spoke about the ban on Saturday night.
“You can’t judge a whole group by one’s actions at the end of the day,” Hollis-Jefferson told the New York Post. “And I feel like that’s not right. That’s definitely not right. You can’t speak for all Muslims, because all Muslims’ hearts aren’t like that. Most of them are pure, really believe in a different way and a different livelihood.” Hollis-Jefferson’s team-mate, Jeremy Lin, added his support. “As an American, sorry to everyone affected by the #MuslimBan … this is foreal gettin out of control,” he wrote on Twitter.
The Golden State Warriors coach, Steve Kerr, also condemned Trump’s order. “What’s happening right now is really scary and disconcerting,” said Kerr, who led the Warriors to the NBA title in 2015.
Great Britain’s four-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Mo Farah, who lives in the US, says he fears the travel ban could separate him from his children. “On 1 January this year, Her Majesty the Queen made me a knight of the realm. On 27 January, President Donald Trump seems to have made me an alien.” Farah was born in Somalia and is currently training in Ethiopia.