Guest blog from Nash Drake
Dear Amanda Duffy
Hi, Amanda. Nash here. It seems that you have been extraordinarily busy, so I’ll try to keep this brief.
Did you know that the front office in Portland has decided that NWSL has a policy against flying the Iron Front flag at matches? Crazy, right?! I’m fairly sure that NWSL didn’t participate in that decision-making process, but if I’m wrong, please let me know.
So let’s talk about the Iron Front symbol. It was created by anti-fascists to give a symbol to counter the Nazis. Yep, Nazis. Again, you’ve been busy, so I won’t assume that you know there is a rising tide of white nationalism sloshing about in our country at the moment that is accompanied by racism, homophobia, transphobia, and on and on. In short, bad things are going on.
I’m a member of the Rose City Riveters. No matter how busy you are, I’m going to assume that you *do* know who we are. We are aggressively inclusive. Anyone is welcome amongst our ranks. Except Nazis, we don’t like them. We have flown the Iron Front flag at a Riveters match before and I personally would like to fly it at every match to let people know that they are safe within our ranks.
Here’s where the rub is, Amanda. While NWSL doesn’t have a code of conduct, MLS does. And while the code of conduct for MLS doesn’t say that an Iron Front symbol can’t be flown in stadiums, the Portland Front Office has decided that it should be banned because it is “political”. They also decided that for NWSL and USL, the same applies. Of all the nerve, amiright?! How far do we have to leap in order to get to a ban on rainbow flags? Pride nights? The Portland front office has said that people are “uncomfortable” with the Iron Front symbol being flown in the stadium. What happens when someone says they are “uncomfortable” with the rainbow flag or a Pride Night? Do we want to tell our players from all over the world that NWSL stadiums aren’t a safe space for them, but are safe spaces for Nazis? Do we want our LGBTQ+ players and supporters to think that NWSL matches are not safe spaces for them, but are for bigots?
Again, I know you are busy, but I am hopeful that you aren’t so busy that you are willing to let one front office dictate a policy for an entire league and its supporters. I’m further hopeful that you and I can agree that human rights are not political and that this will be addressed quickly so that we can all go back to growing this league that we are all so invested in.