American soccer player Tyler Adams got peppered by a couple of questions from an Iranian journalist ahead of Tuesday’s pivotal match between United States and Iran at the 2022 World Cup. One was about his pronunciation of ‘Iran’ and the other was about being a Black man representing the U.S.
Press TV’s Milad Javanmardi pointed out how Adams says the name of Iran.
“First of all, you say you support the Iranian people, but you’re pronouncing our country’s name wrong,” Javanmardi said. “Our country is named ur·aan, not eye·ran. Please, once and for all, let’s get this clear.”
Javanmardi then questioned whether or not Adams, a 23-year-old Black man who was raised by a white family, was comfortable representing “a country that has so much discrimination against black people in his own borders.”
“We saw the Black Lives Matter movement over the past few years. Are you OK to be representing the U.S., meanwhile, there’s so much discrimination happening against Black people in America,” Javanmardi said at the Qatar National Convention Center in Dohar.
Adams, a midfielder for the United States, calmly and brilliantly addressed the pronunciation and discrimination question.
He apologized for the mispronunciation and then went straight to the other question.
“You know, there’s discrimination everywhere you go,” Adams said. “One thing that I’ve learned, especially from living abroad in the past few years and having to fit in in different cultures and kind of assimilate into different cultures is that in the U.S., we’re continuing to make progress every single day.”
“You know, growing up for me, I grew up in a white family with obviously an African American heritage and background as well,” Adams said. “So, I had a little bit of different cultures and I was a very, very easily able to assimilate in different cultures. So, you know, not everyone has that, that ease and the ability to do that. And obviously it takes longer to understand and through education, I think it’s super important. Like you just educated me now on the pronunciation of your country.”
The United States versus Iran match on Tuesday is the final round of Group B. The United States, which tied both Wales (1-1) and England (0-0), needs a win to advance to the knockout round of 16 teams. A loss or tie against Iran would send the Americans home.
The last time Iran and the U.S. played in the World Cup was 1998 in France. The heavily favored Americans lost, 2-1, to the underdog Iranians.
The U.S. and Iran will start at 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday. The game will be televised on Fox.
This is the first time the U.S. has been in the World Cup since 2014. They did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
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