Rantz: Sounders fans, coach throw player under bus over different political opinion

Sep 25, 2022, 8:07 AM
Xavier Arreaga_Brian Schmetzer...
Sounders player Xavier Arreaga (L) is being criticized by his own coach Brian Schmetzer (R) for posting a political cartoon to his Instagram account. (Photos by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Photos by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

An online mob of radical Seattle Sounders FC fans went after the team’s star defender. And his coach threw him under the bus.

Xavier Arreaga posted a political cartoon to his Instagram account. It depicted a TV sending rainbows into the brains of two kids, while handing the boy a dress, and the girl men’s pants. Behind the kids, two parents are tied up. The point was to call out the media for trying to influence or confuse kids on gender identity.

Intolerant fans slammed Arreaga for not holding a position they disagree with. Some pretended the cartoon was “violence,” while others criticized him for being religious. Some want the Sounders to kick him off the team. And his fate may be determined by how he reacts to shameful, intolerant re-education attempts by the head coach.

Intolerant fans decry Arreaga’s lack of tolerance

Arreaga’s position, in as much as the comic represented it, is mainstream.

While culture warriors on the Left aim to bully folks into submission, there is widespread concern that the media (along with educators and activists) is pushing adult issues on children. They’re indoctrinating kids with extreme left-wing views on gender, claiming gender is fluid and biology doesn’t matter. Whether or not you subscribe to this criticism is immaterial: it’s a common position that people of all political stripes hold.

But in Seattle, you must hold the “right” position — the one the city’s most extreme activists demand you hold. Sounders fans are disproportionately progressive and socialist. A subsection of the group is irredeemably aggressive in their demands that you think exactly as you do.

The overwhelmingly white group of activists gets especially angry when a racial or ethnic minority strays from the script. And they came out in full force against Arreaga.

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The apology (sorta)

After Twitter uproar, and what some speculate was a conversation with the Sounders communications staff, the Ecuadorian defender responded with an apology.

“Dear Fans – Last night I reposted a post of a famous Christian artist in my Instagram stories which at the time seemed normal to me and without thinking that this image was going to cause [sic] and hurt the people of our community, which never it [sic] was my intention. I want to express that I respect the way of life and thinking of all people. Thank you,” Arreaga wrote.

This wasn’t enough for the mob, of course.

Different opinions and political cartoons are ‘violence’

When a mob forces you to apologize, it never goes well because it will never be enough. The fans with the pitchforks feign outrage because they think it adds to their social currency. And they will never give in because they have an insatiable appetite for power over others. You will think like them, or else.

“I’m not impressed. Pack your bags Xavi,” one tweeted.

“This isn’t an apology and the hurt was genuine despite the intent. He needs to do better and that starts with saying ‘I’m sorry for…,'” another fan claimed, pretending anyone was “hurt” by the opinion.

Another fan claimed that the “Dude’s clearly a homophobe. Pass.”

“We don’t just ‘tolerate’ people from marginalized communities; we embrace them and defend them if necessary from attacks and violence,” another fan said, reminding us he’s a hero protecting minorities from views he doesn’t want us to hold.

One nurse went even further: “It’s violence and it’s dangerous.”

These reactions are, of course, irrational. But none was worse than Arreaga’s coach.

Condescending coach plays White Knight

Head coach Brian Schmetzer is a nice guy and a talented coach. But when he spoke to bloggers demanding he react to Arreaga’s post, Schmetzer came off as a condescending, ideological bigot. He’s the literal White Knight who is demanding the Ecuadorian think differently.

“I don’t agree with it. I don’t agree with that at all. I mean, people are who they are. It’s not TV trying to brainwash people,” Schmetzer said, indicating he knows very little about the issue being debated.

The comic doesn’t argue that people aren’t born gay, straight, or transgender. It claims that the media is trying to influence kids on the topic of gender identity.

Though perhaps Schmetzer doesn’t think young people are impressionable. He should catch up on the mountains of research that prove otherwise. He must have missed the coverage of how Instagram’s algorithms have negatively impacted the body image of young girls.

And if he thinks conversations about gender identity can’t confuse or influence kids, the next time you see him, ask him to define any one of the 14,000 genders activists pretend exists. He can’t figure that out as an adult. But a kid won’t be confused or influenced at all?

Re-education camp

From the sounds of the coach, Arreaga is headed to a re-education camp.

“From a club standpoint, I’ll answer that one too,” Schmetzer said. “A lot of people were hurt about that Instagram post, and they have a right to be hurt. And Xavi apologized. And when he comes back, I will have a good conversation with him. Okay, try and help him out. And then we also within the club, have a really good social, you know, equity network, and he’ll sit down with them and talk things through. And just make sure he understands that what he said wasn’t correct.”

First of all, no one was “hurt” by the opinion. They merely disagreed. Maybe they were mad or disgusted, but no one was hurt.

Second of all, why is it that fans have the right to be “hurt,” but Arreaga doesn’t have the right to hold a position outside what a handful of loud fans or the coach believes? It’s not Arreaga who needs help.

Sounders dictate what the correct opinion is.

Schmetzer isn’t merely saying he disagrees with Arreaga. He’s saying the player will be lectured by activist groups until he learns his opinion “wasn’t correct.”

The coach pretends he’s the arbiter of what is or isn’t “correct.” It’s quite literally how dictators behave: you take the “right” position, or you’re sent to a re-education camp. Arreaga will now be forced to sit with hand-picked organizations that hold the position Schmetzer has.

The Left loves to proclaim it’s racist when white people tell people of color how to think, yet they love to keep minorities in line should any of us say something they disagree with. But in their echo chamber, Schmetzer and the Left believe it’s their view or no view.

Ironically, the Sounders announced last Friday that it’s celebrating “Latinx Heritage Month.” That month doesn’t actually exist. It’s Hispanic Heritage Month, but overwhelmingly white left-wing activists who sit in the stands pretend to say “Latinx” is a way to truly celebrate the “brown” people they hope to someday befriend as tokens. No one at the Sounders thought changing a month’s name inappropriate to placate white people’s word policing.

Schmetzer pretends he’s looking for dialogue

Towards the end of the press conference, Schmetzer tried to have it both ways.

The coach acknowledged that “it’s America,” and Arreaga has the “free speech” rights to post the comic. But then he says that “we all have to understand that what we say sometimes can hurt other people’s feelings. You have to acknowledge that.”

He complained about social media making it easy to hide behind anonymity to take positions. Schmetzer then lamented “people don’t talk to each other enough these days in my opinion.” He complained that sometimes people don’t think about how their opinions might affect others.

Fair enough. But Schmetzer isn’t interested in a face-to-face conversation where two people with different views discuss their perspectives. He’s flatly saying Arreaga is wrong and must change his views.

A spokesperson denied an interview with Schmetzer on this issue.

One-way respect for the team

As an organization, the Sounders front office has little public interest in how other people feel about the political positions it supports. They lean into the far-left causes because it has to keep their left-wing fan base happy.

After all, this is the same club that caved to pressure from Antifa-sympathizing extremists within the independent fan group Emerald City Supporters (ECS). Some members demanded they be allowed to wave the Iron Front flag in the supporter’s section of the stadium.

“ECS goes after anyone who disagrees with them like a pack of starving wolverines,” one former ECS member told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

At the time, Antifa activists were actively trying to murder police officers and burn down buildings while waving the Iron Front flag. The Sounders’ front office made it clear they stand on the side of those seeking to hurt police — though when it benefits their brand, they’ll be quick to say they back the blue. This move offended many people, but the front office didn’t care.

Schmetzer’s reaction is toxic

It’s easy for the front office and Schmetzer to react the way they did because they are surrounded by people who think as they do. But they don’t realize just how toxic an environment they’re creating.

As the former pre- and post-game host, I can tell you that not everyone within the organization is as far left as fans might think. Indeed, when I worked with them, there were several moderate and even conservative staff.

But when one player dares take a mainstream view that’s seen as conservative, and the coach sends him to a re-education session, you’re telling your employees to keep their opinions to themselves if it strays from the approved talking points. That’s not very tolerant.

Given the power dynamic, it’s clear that Arreaga will have to at least pretend that he doesn’t hold his views so he can maintain his position on the team. He would have been in a better position if he called cops “pigs” and took a knee during the anthem before a game. Then when some fans or media criticized him, he’d at least have had the coach defending his right to political opinions.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast. Follow @JasonRantz on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.

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Rantz: Sounders fans, coach throw player under bus over different political opinion