The Seattle Sounders and OL Reign as organizations — as well as individuals representing the clubs — expressed deep disappointment at the United States’ Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on Friday, clearing the way for individual states to ban abortions without caveats or exceptions.
The Sounders asserted that “reproductive rights are human rights” and pledged to fight for “inclusion, tolerance and justice in our community.” As of press time, they were one of only a handful of MLS teams to make any statement.
Reproductive rights are human rights. pic.twitter.com/inU7axqqR1— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) June 24, 2022
The Reign urged fans to “take action now” while providing links to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU and stated that the decision overturns the “basic human right to bodily autonomy.”
Megan Rapinoe was not apparently originally scheduled to talk to reporters ahead of the USWNT’s friendly against Colombia, but asked for the opportunity to speak in light of the Supreme Court’s decision. She opened with a seemingly off-the-cuff yet eloquent 10-minute speech in which she called the decision “cruel” and highlighted how her standing as a “rich, white and famous” person will shield her from many of the negative impacts of the decision.
“We know that this will disproportionately affect poor women, Black women, brown women, immigrants, women in abusive relationships, women who have been raped, women and girls who have been raped by family members, (women) who, you know what, maybe just didn’t make the best choice. And that’s no reason to be forced to have a pregnancy,” she said.
“It will completely exacerbate so many of the existing inequalities that we have in our country. It doesn’t keep not one single person safer. It doesn’t keep not one single child safer, certainly. And it does not keep one single, inclusive term, woman safer.”
She also called on men to end their silence and to speak up on behalf of women’s rights.
“I should not be the loudest voice in the room, no woman should be the loudest voice in the room,” Rapinoe said. “This is what allyship looks like. This is what, frankly, doing the right thing looks like. If not for men, we would have none of these laws, none of the inequality in terms of gender rights and this onslaught on abortion rights. None of this would be happening. We did not do this to ourselves.
“You are complicit in all of this. You also have the opportunity to do better every single day.”
In their small way, the Sounders heeded that call.
Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer called the decision “brutally unfair and I don’t agree with it.”
“The thing for me is women should have the right to do with their body what they choose,” he said. “The court is telling a woman ‘if you get pregnant you’re responsible for it.’ That’s what they’re saying. They don’t take into consideration if the pregnancy is bad or there’s a risk to the woman’s life or any of that stuff.”
Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei also expressed frustration at the ability for men to effectively dictate to women what they can do with their bodies. He also linked this decision to others around gun safety.
“Sometimes it feels like we’re 100 years in the past,” Frei said.
Despite those frustrations, Frei said he only feels more strongly about his decision to become a U.S. citizen.
“I have a platform — a very, very small platform, I’m aware of that — but for me it’s a grassroots movement,” he said. “I notice when I’m out here and there’s a little kid out here watching me play soccer, to them I’m a hero. It reminds me of when I was a little kid and I looked at my local goalkeeper and he was my hero. I could influence him. The way I want to influence kids is to show kindness to people, to treat people equally in everything, to give everybody an opportunity. And if I can rub some of those values off on local kids, that’s worth it.”
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