Sasha Klestan urges Congress to act after mass shooting

Galaxy Linebacker Sasha Klestan has long been one of MLS’s most thoughtful and outspoken players, often using social media to comment on matters outside of football.

On Monday, after an assist by his team 4-0 win over Montreal, Klestan agreed to appear at the post-match press conference but declined to talk about the match.

Instead, he issued an emotional appeal for gun control following another mass shooting that left six people dead and at least 30 injured. Fourth of July Parade in Highland Park, Illinois.

“In fact, I will be brief and will not answer any questions about the game. I’m not kidding,” began Klestan, whose 13-minute appearance from the bench was his first in almost two months. “I’m sick of what’s going on in Illinois today. And I think we need to talk about gun control. You guys can write about the game if you want, but I don’t really give anything. It’s a painful vicious cycle that repeats itself over and over and we do nothing about it. And it makes me sick.

“I don’t know, Congress, senators, if anyone sees this, do something. Our children get hurt, and we think and pray, and it doesn’t work. And then we talk about it on social media and it doesn’t work. But our government does nothing. And then someone gets shot again.

“So he’s sick. It pissed me off, and, for example, I can’t even think about anything else … I don’t even know what to say. I am not a politician, but I am a man. My kids… I’m scared for them when they go to school and it makes me mad. And I think if that doesn’t piss you off and you don’t want new gun laws in this country, then something is wrong with [you]. So I guess that’s all I have to say.”

Galaxy midfielder Sasha Klestan (center) rejoices after scoring a goal.

Galaktika midfielder Sasha Klestan (center) celebrates after scoring a penalty in the 2021 season.

(ASSOCIATE PRESS)

In 2019, days after the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, Alejandro Bedoya of the Philadelphia Union, Klestan’s former Team USA teammate, grabbed an open mic on the field after scoring a goal in a nationally televised match and made his own strong call for gun control,

“Congress, do something now. Stop gun violence!” Bedoya shouted into a microphone at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. “Let’s go!”

A couple of days later, Bedoya was voted the league’s player of the week.