“I’m not a politician, but I’m a human being,” LA Galaxy midfielder Sacha Kljestan said July 4 during a post-match interview after defeating CF Montreal (4-0).
After yet another mass shooting in America, this time taking place during Highland Park’s Fourth of July parade in Illinois, seven were left dead and dozens in critical condition. Inside what must have been a tense and awkward conference room, Kljestan begins the interview by stating he would go against the status quo of what other interviews might have looked like.
“I’m actually gonna keep this very brief and not answer any questions about the game,” Kljestan said. “I’m sick to my stomach about what happened in Illinois today … It’s a sick vicious cycle that keeps happening over and over.”
It’s awkward, but necessary. I am sure Kljestan would have preferred to celebrate his team’s victory and answer the eager sports reporters’ questions. Instead, he hit us with today’s reality.
He felt it was necessary to use his platform to bring further attention and society’s concern to the ever-pressing issue of gun violence in America. In the year 2022 alone, there have already been over 300 mass shootings. It’s only reasonable for people to feel outraged at the fact that legislators are not taking steps towards reducing this number in the years to come.
The professional soccer player echoed what seems to be many Americans’ thoughts and feelings on the issue at hand. During his interview, Kljestan also called out leaders of Congress and senators. This was less of an interview and more of a call for action, or a plea for help. “Congress, senators, if anyone sees this, do something,” Kljestan said.
Kljestan did not only touch on gun violence, but also spoke about the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade in response to a question posed by a member of the press pack regarding the ruling.
“It’s ridiculous that we have nine people who don’t really represent what the majority of Americans want making decisions,” Kljestan said.
A system designed to serve its people is failing to do exactly that — something Kljestan felt was worth vocalizing. It’s compelling, eye-opening and refreshing to see athletes, celebrities and other public figures speak out on important issues even though it’s not their responsibility or obligation.
It emphasizes the fact that at the end of the day, we are all human and are all affected one way or another by the poor decisions and poor leadership that the U.S. is notoriously known for. It seems the best leaders are in places we’d least expect them. Using your voice is incredibly important — it always has been. Kljestan is a perfect example of that.