Sounders, Timbers Fans Engage in Silent Protest over MLS' Political Sign Ban

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 24, 2019

In this July 21, 2019, photo, a sign that reads
Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

The supporters for the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders fell silent for the first 33 minutes of Friday night's matchup between the clubs in protest of the MLS ban on political signage at games, according to Jeff Carlisle of ESPN.

The Timbers Army, Emerald City Supporters and Gorilla FC all were protesting, in particular, the banning of "the Iron Front symbol, which was used by an anti-Nazi paramilitary organization before World War II."

While the supporters' groups contended that the symbol represents anti-fascism and inclusion, the MLS countered that the symbol is an affiliation with Antifa groups in the United States. The supporters' groups chose a 33-minute silence "to commemorate 1933, the year the Iron Front was disbanded in Nazi Germany," per Carlisle. 

Most of the other fans in attendance also remained silent during the first third of the contest.

In a statement, the trio of supporters' groups called the MLS' use of the word "political" in its fan code of conduct "inherently arbitrary" and requested the MLS reshape the code in a way that "reflects and supports radical inclusion and anti-discrimination."

Both clubs showed their support for the groups ahead of the game:

Seattle Sounders FC @SoundersFC

Bigger than a rivalry. We stand together against fascism and racism. https://t.co/pzZnRIANY9

Portland Timbers @TimbersFC

Bigger than a rivalry. We stand together against fascism and racism. #RCTID https://t.co/vpMCF7qlZv

Portland Timbers @TimbersFC

Hate is not welcome here. #RCTID https://t.co/nTsoDnyAVI

Jules Boykoff @JulesBoykoff

Shoutout to Timbers player @ZarekValentin for sporting the Iron Front symbol on his walk into the #PORvSEA match! #AUnitedFront #EverydayAntifascist https://t.co/HxnnW1rFKj

The Sounders won the rivalry matchup, 2-1.