Michael Bradley just put his foot in his mouth in a major way.
Ever since losing to Trinidad & Tobago and failing to qualify for World Cup 2018, the U.S. national team captain has been conspicuously silent. While teammates Jozy Altidore expressed sorrow and Christian Pulisic bared his soul, Bradley has said little about his failures in World Cup qualifying.
Fans have taken notice. Ever since that night in October, Bradley has been greeted with boos in every city he has played.
Some may think that’s harsh but that ignores the gravity of international soccer, and the World Cup in particular. Playing in the World Cup means so much to so many American fans. And now, U.S. supporters will have waited eight years before the next opportunity to watch the Red, White and Blue on the world’s stage.
Anger and frustration among fans is natural and part of the grieving process. Surely, the leader of Team USA would understand that?
Not so much.
One month after the U.S. men’s team failed to qualify, Bradley spoke negatively about one of America’s most passionate and loyal cities – Columbus.
His comments came after Toronto FC faced the Columbus Crew in the MLS Eastern Conference Finals. Bradley was frustrated by the boos aimed at him during the match at Mapfre Stadium and let his emotions dictate his response to a question about the #SaveTheCrew debate.
Read his comments:
“On one hand, you feel for the small group of loyal supporters that they have, who have been here since the beginning, who continue to support the team, and come out week after week.
“On the other hand, you can’t deny the fact that things here have really fallen behind in terms of the atmosphere in the stadium, the quality of the stadium, what it’s like to play here. I don’t know who is at fault for that. From what I gather, there’s a lot going on and I get that.
“As an outsider I don’t know who that falls on. But the reality is just that as the league has continued to grow and grow — and this isn’t the only one — this is one of a few markets that has not kept pace.”
As captain of the U.S. national team, Bradley is arguably the main face of the sport in our country. In that role, he is also expected to be a leader in good times and bad. So when he condemns a fan base that has been loyal to the U.S. national team for countless years, we can’t help but question whether Bradley is fit to be captain anymore.
At the very least, we have a hard time believing U.S. Soccer will schedule another match in Columbus while Bradley is on the team. There’s no way he can visit the city again after those comments.
Additionally, we question his qualifications as a leader given how insensitive those remarks were. A storied franchise is on the verge of losing its team. Why take a cheap shot at the fan base in the process?
America deserves better from its team leaders and Michael Bradley may have just shown his true colors with these actions.
Watch Bradley’s response here: