The captain of the U.S. men’s soccer team artfully handled a question from an Iranian state propaganda reporter on Monday.
Milad Javanmardy of Iran’s state-run PressTV grilled American midfielder Tyler Adams in a news conference in Qatar, which is hosting the World Cup.
The soccer teams of Iran and the United States are slated to square off at 2 p.m. ET Tuesday in a key Group B match.
Javanmardy first took offense at Adam’s pronunciation of the word “Iran,” pointing out he had said it as “Eyeran” instead of the correct “Eron.”
The Iranian state media reporter went on to grill him about what he described as racism in the United States, pointing to the claims of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Are you OK to be representing a country that has so much discrimination against black people in its own borders?” Javanmardy questioned Adams, who is black.
Adams graciously apologized for mispronouncing “Iran” and went on to speak to the Iranian state media reporter’s claims about racism in America.
— Ryan OLeary (@BR0leary) November 28, 2022
The captain of the U.S. men’s team pointed out that racism is far from a phenomenon unique to the United States, referring to his own experiences living abroad.
“There’s discrimination everywhere you go,” he said. “You know, one thing that I’ve learned, especially from living abroad in the past 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.
“Growing up for me, I grew up in a white family, and 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. So, not everyone has 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. So, yeah, it’s a process. I think as long as you see progress, that’s the most important thing.”
One soccer reporter called Adams’ response to the question “remarkable,” praising his poise.
Remarkable moment in presser.
An Iranian reporter criticizes Tyler Adams for mispronouncing Iran, then asks him if he’s comfortable representing the US when the country has such a history of racism against Black people.
Adams gave a very measured response. Will post later.
— Sam Stejskal (@samstejskal) November 28, 2022
A soccer analyst called it an “all time classy answer.”
Tyler Adams mispronounced Iran and was called out by an Iranian journalist – who followed up with a question on discrimination in the United States.
— Stu Holden (@stuholden) November 28, 2022
Adams and U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter were asked a series of politically charged questions in the news conference, with soccer seemingly secondary to Iran’s gripes with American policy in the Middle East.
Gregg Berhalter and Tyler Adams have now been asked about systemic racism in the U.S., the American fleet in the Persian Gulf, high inflation, and why Iranians need a visa to visit the USA but Americans don’t need one for Iran.
This press conference has been… different.
— Leander Schaerlaeckens (@LeanderAlphabet) November 28, 2022
With the U.S. and Iran facing off Tuesday, the longstanding geopolitical tensions between the two countries cast a shadow over the match.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.