#CallingFowl – our message to Major League Soccer



Reign FC and Sounders FC players pose with their EQUALITY jerseys. All images courtesy Sounders FC Communications. Credit: Charis Wilson.

We, the Seattle Sounders Alliance Council, believe that soccer is more than a sport.

With its roots in community and accessibility, soccer brings a diverse range of people together for the sheer love of what we all know as the Beautiful Game.

Soccer does not care if you are old or young, fit or out of shape, male or female, short or tall.  All soccer needs is a space and something to kick around; bring the people and it will do the rest.  Which is why we believe it is our collective responsibility to uphold the core inclusive values of the sport where we see them threatened.

There is no place more important to the commitment of inclusion than within MLS – the highest professional level of soccer in the US and Canada.

We believe that the proposed league wide Chick-fil-A partnership is in direct conflict with these values.  Chick-fil-A, its ownership and affiliated Foundation, have a demonstrated position that is anti-inclusive in action and words.

We recognize that not every fan is going to be in agreement, and that some will see this as a political position.  Diverse points of view are welcome as part of the community that soccer brings together for a common joy.  However, we believe that respecting individual choices and perspectives doesn’t require entering into financial contracts with organizations that promote inequality and non-acceptance.

Today Alliance Council have sent a letter to MLS leadership which outlines our objections, urging the League to reconsider this possible sponsorship, and to emphasize the message of inclusion that the League has historically promoted.

We feel compelled by our Alliance Council charter and mission statement to speak out in these situations and to amplify the voices of those who desire acceptance and inclusion.

If #SoccerForAll is to truly mean All, there is no room for compromise. Words without action are hollow.

16 comments on “#CallingFowl – our message to Major League Soccer”

  1. Yes, this is a political position. It seems like a good starting point would include MLS acknowledging that it shouldn’t both support political causes openly and claim to prohibit political statements at MLS events. Initiatives like #SoccerForAll, which have the stated goal of driving social change, are inherently political. We should probably all get comfortable with the idea that sports and politics are going to mix, constantly.

    Chick-fil-A’s owners have not prevented any person from participating in soccer. Chick-fil-A’s owners have not prevented any person from being served at a Chick-fil-A restaurant. Chick-fil-A’s owners hold religious, moral, and political opinions that are different from the opinions of people on the Alliance Council.

    So where does #SoccerForAll end? It must end somewhere. Does it end at excluding those who would actively exclude others from enjoying and participating in soccer? Or, does it end at excluding those who hold political beliefs that others deem reprehensible, despite the fact that equality in enjoying soccer together is not affected? That is the choice that MLS must make.


    1. Chick-fill-A has donated money to Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which according to one article (https://www.eater.com/2019/4/4/18295231/chick-fil-a-anti-lgbtq-donations-dan-cathy-gay-marriage) :

      “The group appears to target youth in their formative teenage and college years, requiring would-be beneficiaries to agree with its statement of faith, which explicitly decries gay marriage”

      That is pretty damning. I find it weird that the question your asking is not “how can we support #Soccerforall” but rather asking when does it end. Why would we not want to hold MLS and Chick-Fil-A accountable?Why does #SoccerForAll have to have and end but organization that support homophobic beliefs don’t?

      Enjoying soccer together is actually impacted when you have people who attend who yell slurs based on race, gender, sexuality, etc… If you don’t believe that, then you are probably already set it your own mind about belief structures that actively seek to deny people access to things like marriage (and soccer).


      1. You are making some poor assumptions. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes ascribes to a traditional Christian sexual ethic. It is a group for Christian athletes that also agree with that ethic, similar to how any religious group may require certain beliefs and behaviors from its members. You and I may not agree with their beliefs, but you also do not have to join, agree, or listen to them. Without a doubt, tolerant Sounders fans of all stripes can find other Sounders fans who disagree with them strongly on matters of politics, religion, and morality. We tolerate those differences out of respect for one another.

        You have is also made a dangerous assumption that people who hold to their faith tradition’s idea of sexual ethics, whether that faith is Islam, Christianity, Orthodox Judaism, or otherwise, are necessarily homophobic or hateful. The idea that a Muslim who attends a soccer match will, by their nature, yell homophobic slurs simply because of their religious beliefs is ignorant. Many people of faiths that prohibit homosexuality would not be hostile toward any person who disagrees with their sexual ethic. It is disappointing if the Alliance Council’s idea of #Soccerforall does not include those who are tolerant but disagree.

        If you don’t understand the question of “where does #Soccerforall” end, I suggest you read about the paradox of tolerance and think about where you draw the line.


      2. There is a difference in individual perspective and belief and the commercialization of exclusion. Society (and business) doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) legitimize intolerance.


      3. For MLS to accept sponsorship from this appalling company brings
        MLS to a real low point. We already have a pathetic, lying WH occupant. Do we really need more extreme mediocrity and horrible behavior.


  2. MLS leadership is weak and greedy :/ they have failed again and again to embrace an attitude of inclusion or enforce discipline against clubs that tolerate or promote homophobia/racism/xenophobia
    Thank you Sounders FC Alliance ❤ #soccerfallall


    1. So you’re oblivious to pain until YOUR toes are stepped upon? Wake up. When have politics NOT been part of sports?


  3. I agree that MLS should absolutely not enter into nor allow any sponsorship agreements with polarizing, inequality promoting, non-inclusive companies such as Chick-fil-A. Soccer For All must be respected in all facets of our MLS.


  4. I agree. Chik-Fil-A has doubled down when asked to stop donating to organizations that are explicitly anti-GLBTQ. They do not feel they need to make any move towards more inclusiveness. Therefore this is a terrible organization to have as a sponsor for a sport that has been inclusive (generally)- and what movement needs to be made in the sport is towards more inclusion rather than less.


  5. Can’t do “don’t cross the line” campaign and then partner with an organization whose core mission is to “cross the line”. Season ticket holders since inaugural year. Will cancel this renewal if this remains. We have reached a point where one can no longer remain on the sidelines.


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