Last weekend was a difficult one in the United States of America, as at least 31 people were killed in two separate mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
On Sunday, as the Philadelphia Union played D.C. United in nationally televised MLS action at Audi Field, midfielder Alejandro Bedoya - team captain and a former member of the U.S. Men's National Team - clearly had the news on his mind.
Just three minutes in, Bedoya scored to give the Union a 1-0 lead. Following his goal, he picked up a field-side microphone linked to the national television broadcast of the game and delivered a clear message:
"Hey Congress, do something now! End gun violence! Let's go!"
Wow. Philadelphia Union captain Alejandro Bedoya scores, finds the field mic on a national broadcast, implores Congress to do something about gun violence. pic.twitter.com/DrEvoj5ZIl— Nathan Ford (@NathanTFord) August 5, 2019
On Tuesday, Bedoya spoke to NBC10 about what was going on in his head when he made the statement.
"The action was spur of the moment," he said. "I never thought about doing that. I never planned anything like that."
Bedoya had also shared his views on gun violence via Twitter.
(Warning: Explicit language.)
Seeing more thoughts and prayers bullshit.— Alejandro Bedoya (@AleBedoya17) August 4, 2019
Words without actions are just worthless. America, it seems, is becoming a dystopian society.
Do something!!! Enough!!!
I’m not a policymaker either. I’m shouting at those hypocrites to get their shit together. You want some plans. We can start with stricter background checks, red flag laws, making a registry for gun purchases, closing gun show loopholes, and taxing ammunition. Better for you?— Alejandro Bedoya (@AleBedoya17) August 4, 2019
"Everything was freshly in my mind so maybe it was a sign from God or something that, 'Hey, you have a platform. Speak out.' I don't know. It just happened," Bedoya told NBC10.
In March, Bedoya wore an "MSD Strong" shirt under his jersey to support the families affected by the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Bedoya was born in New Jersey but grew up in Weston, Florida.
"I grew up in South Florida, ten minutes from there," he said. "I played at Douglas. I played on that field and there at that school. I have many friends that attended that school. So that really hit home."
Bedoya, a husband and father, said the issue of gun violence is also on his mind when he's with his son.
"I'm walking my son down to school and I'm looking around making sure there's no sketchy person around," he said. "Where am I gonna run first? I can't be the only one with those thoughts."
Bedoya told NBC10 he's received support from the Union and others through messages.
"I didn't point fingers at anybody," he said. "I didn't say anything crazy. I said something that I believe is bipartisan that we could work on. Congress. It includes the House and the Senate. Republicans. Democrats. Both sides. Everybody. You know? We all need to do better."
Bedoya could have faced disciplinary action by Major League Soccer for disrupting play. But a league spokesman said Monday that they would not fine or suspend Bedoya. Instead, the MLS named him the Player of the Week.