Tyler Adams, the captain of the U.S. Men’s National Team, gave a poised response when asked about discrimination in America by an Iranian reporter, who had previously called him out for mispronouncing Iran at a pre-match press conference, per Sports Illustrated.
Ahead of USMT's match against Iran at the Qatar World Cup, an Iranian reporter corrected Adams' English pronunciation of Iran, saying “once and for all, let’s get this clear.” The same reporter then asked Adams if he felt “OK” representing the U.S. in the international soccer match given that the country “has so much discrimination against Black people in its own border.”
“My apologies on the mispronunciation of your country. Yeah, that being said, you know, there’s discrimination everywhere you go,” Adams responded. “One thing that I’ve learned, especially from living abroad in the past few years and having to fit in in different cultures is that, in the U.S., we’re continuing to make progress every single day."
The soccer star, who made his debut on Team USA in 2017, also referenced his upbringing in a white family with African American heritage, which he says helped him better understand different cultures.
“I grew up in a white family with obviously an African American heritage and background as well, so I had a little bit of different cultures and I was very easily able to assimilate in different cultures,” Adams told the Iranian reporter at the press conference. “Not everyone has that ease and the ability to do that. And obviously, it takes the longest to understand. And through education, I think it’s super important—like you just educated me now on the pronunciation of your country.
The U.S. and Iran will face off in a Qatar World Cup match Tuesday that will determine who heads to the tournament’s knockout stage.