This morning, a day after Deadspin published a post about an anonymous former MLS and former USMNT player who told conservative talk show host Jason Rantz that he hoped fans would “wear their MAGA gear to MLS games,” Queens Park Rangers defender and former USMNT player Geoff Cameron, who was not named or alluded to in the article, emailed me to clarify that he is not the player who made that comment.
“People are thinking I had something to do with this article which is wrong and you need to clarity whoever it is bc I’m getting shit for something I have no part to,” the email read in its entirety.
In a followup phone call, Cameron told me he had been receiving death threats on social media and that people were calling him a Nazi.
The anonymous quote in question—given in response to MLS lifting the ban on anti-fascist imagery at games—implied that the opposite of anti-fascism was Donald Trump:
“I hope that people will now wear their MAGA gear to MLS games,” he told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “I hope they fly Trump 2020 flags. The Antifa thugs have just fought, and won the freedom of political expression, without censorship or judgement. They must now honor that from all who wish to express this newly achieved freedom at MLS games. I will not be surprised when they show their true fascist agenda by pushing MLS to ban those they disagree with, from expressing their differing political beliefs.”
Some soccer fans on social media assumed the player in question was Geoff Cameron, who has publicly discussed his conservative beliefs in press accounts. In an interview with Sports Illustrated in 2017, Cameron commented on Trump’s travel ban for seven Muslim-majority countries, saying:
“I believe it’s important to support our President whether he was your candidate or not,” Cameron told SI.com’s Grant Wahl. “I am pleased he is making security of all Americans one of his top priorities. Our enemies have stated—and in Europe they have proven—they will take advantage of lax immigration procedures for the purposes of staging attacks. A temporary pause on immigration for the purpose of evaluating and improving vetting procedures makes sense. The United States is one of the most generous and compassionate nations. Our ability to care for and support countries and refugees in need resides in our own sense of security. If we don’t feel safe, how can we protect others?”
In an interview with the New York Times last year, the topic came up again:
Pressed about how he feels about the travel ban nearly a year later, Cameron insisted: “I never said I supported a Muslim ban. I said I support a better vetting procedure. And I still do.”
As for being branded a Trump supporter, Cameron said: “I’m not like a hard-core Republican. I wasn’t walking around wearing ‘Make America Great Again’ hats. I just couldn’t vote for Hillary — I just didn’t like Hillary as a person or a politician. I tend to side with more Republican or conservative views, but if there was someone that I thought was a better candidate than Trump or Hillary, I would have voted for them hands down.
“I still get tweets that say, ‘Geoff’s a good footballer but I hate his politics.’ It hurt me at the beginning, because I was like, ‘This is what people think of me?’ But then I got to the point where I was like: ‘You know what? Screw it.’ These people don’t really know me.”
In the phone call with Deadspin, Cameron said, “I had nothing to do with this article, I had nothing to do with his interview.” He said, “I’m conservative and I don’t have a problem saying it but there are certain things that I would say and certain things I wouldn’t say,” adding that he has owned his beliefs in the past.
So which player made the brave anonymous statement to Jason Rantz? There’s plenty of speculation out there; if you have any information, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or use SecureDrop for added security.