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Emotional Sacha Kljestan asks Congress to ‘do something’ after Illinois mass shooting

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Galaxy midfielder Sacha Kljestan had long been among the most thoughtful and outspoken players in MLS, frequently using social media to comment on issues that go beyond soccer.

On Monday, after assisting on the final goal in his team’s 4-0 win over Montreal, Kljestan agreed to appear at a post-game news conference but declined to talk about the match.

Instead, he gave an emotional plea for gun control after another mass shooting which left six dead and at least 30 wounded at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Ill.

“I’m actually going to keep this really brief and not answer any questions about the game. I’m not joking,” began Kljestan, whose 13-minute appearance off the bench was his first in nearly two months. “I’m sick to my stomach about what’s happened 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 a s—. It’s a sick, vicious cycle that keeps happening over and over and we’re doing nothing about it. And it makes me sick.

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“I don’t know, Congress, senators — if anyone sees this — do something. Our kids get shot up and we say thoughts and prayers and it does nothing. And then we talk about it on social media and it does nothing. And then our government does nothing. And then somebody gets shot up again.

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

Galaxy midfielder Sacha Kljestan, center, celebrates after scoring on a penalty kick during the 2021 season.

(ASSOCIATED PRESS)

In 2019, days after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, the Philadelphia Union’s Alejandro Bedoya, a former teammate of Kljestan’s with the U.S. national team, grabbed an open microphone on the field after scoring in a nationally televised game and made a forceful plea of his own for gun control,

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

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

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