The captain of the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team (USMNT) had a perfectly classy response to a troll Iranian reporter questioning him about American racism.
At a press conference ahead of Tuesday’s World Cup matchup between the United States and Iran, a reporter representing the latter country attacked USMNT captain Tyler Adams, a black man, for his mispronunciation of Iran while questioning him about racism back home in the United States.
“You say you support the Iranian people, but you are pronouncing our country’s name wrong,” the reporter said before giving the correct pronunciation of Iran. “Second of all, are you okay to be representing a country that has so much discrimination against black people in its own borders? We saw the Black Lives Matter movement over the past few years.”
Adams first humbly apologized for his mispronunciation of Iran before giving a classy, educated answer to the troll question.
“There’s discrimination wherever you go,” Adams said. “One thing that I’ve learned especially from living abroad in the past years, having to fit in different cultures is that in the U.S. we’re continuing to make progress every single day. I grew up in a white family with an African American heritage and background as well, so I had a little bit of different cultures and I was very easily able to assimilate into different cultures.”
“Education is super important. It’s a process and as long as you see progress, that’s the most important thing,” he added.
The questioning from the Iranian journalist came after the country attempted to have the United States kicked out of the World Cup over a social media post that shared Iran’s flag minus the emblem of the Islamic Republic as a show of solidarity with “the women in Iran fighting for basic human rights.” The U.S. Soccer Federation deleted the image of the flag after the initial uproar. Iran subsequently filed a complaint with FIFA’s Ethics Committee demanding that the U.S. receive a 10-game ban for “offending the dignity” of the nation.
USMNT Greg Berhalter apologized on behalf of the team for the social media post, saying they had nothing to do with it.
“Sometimes things are out of our control,” Berhalter said. “We’re not focused on those outside things and all we can do is apologize on behalf of the players and the staff, but it’s not something that we were a part of.”
“We had no idea what US Soccer put out. The staff, the players, we had no idea. For us our focus is on this match and I don’t want to sound aloof, or we’re not caring by saying that,” he added. “Of course, our thoughts are with the Iranian people, the whole country, and everyone.”