News

On September 15th, the Emerald City Supporters flew the Iron Front flag and raised two poles in the Brougham End (again) as part of our fight for inclusion in our section, stadium, and city, welcoming all people that love this sport. Unfortunately, due to the league’s recently introduced, inconsistently enforced, and vague ban on “political” displays, the stadium chose to eject our head capo and director of game day operations.

As a supporter group, our greatest strength is in combining our voices and energy in solidarity to lift our boys to victory. When the stadium opts to reject that message of inclusion by ejecting a capo who is leading the call for equality, we have no choice (difficult as it very much was) but to cease our support for the rest of the match. We put away our flags, and drums and our capos led us out of the section. Together.

This was a difficult choice. The Emerald City Supporters exist solely to support the Sounders. But as a diverse group that supports a diverse club, it has become increasingly important for us to fight for our marginalized players on the field and supporters in the stands against the racist, fascist and oppressive uprising in our city, in our state, in our country, in our stadiums, in our league, and in our sport.

We are proud to stand as allies with many supporter groups around the league in this fight, and believe that together we will create the change we desire. We’ve told the league what we want and will emphasize this again in a meeting with league officials later this week in Las Vegas. 

Join us in the Brougham End to support our boys as they push towards the postseason. We met with the Sounders Front Office today and there will be no punishment to the group or individuals based on Sunday’s actions. We look forward to supporting our boys as they fight for us to claim 3 crucial points. 

Finally, an important message to our members.  We understand that you feel passionately about this issue and putting pressure on the league to change the code of conduct.  However, we must remind everyone that denigrating people who disagree with our tactics is counterproductive. We ask that you keep your attention on the actual fascists and white supremacist groups that are growing in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Be excellent to each other and Sounder Together.

Up The Sounders! Up the ECS!

The following is a joint statement released to the ISC today. 

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The Emerald City Supporters joins with our fellow Sounders FC supporters Gorilla FC and our Portland rivals in the 107 Independent Supporters Trust in calling for the following outcomes:

  • MLS rescinds its ban on flying the iron front flag.
  • MLS removes the word "political" from its fan code of conduct as it is inherently arbitrary.
  • MLS works with international experts on human rights to craft language in the fan code of conduct that reflects and supports radical inclusion and anti-discrimination.

To that end, we're asking for other supporter groups to demonstrate their support with the following call to action:

  • Pump up the volume on this issue by demonstrating your support visually with iron front images on clothing (T-shirts, large patches, and the like) at matches in your stadium.
  • Call your team's front office and/or MLS headquarters to voice your opposition to the current MLS policy regarding political displays in general and the iron front flag in particular.
  • As supporter groups, voice your support either in calls, letters, or social media for the three objectives listed above.

Tom Biro and Shawn Wheeler, on behalf of Emerald City Supporters

Tom Conquergood, on behalf of Gorilla FC

Sherrilynn "Sheba" Rawson, on behalf of 107 Independent Supporters Trust, the engine behind the Timbers Army and the Rose City Riveters

A statement from ECS leadership

On July 21st vs Portland, we flew an Iron Front 3 arrows flag in the Brougham End. The three arrows represent our commitment to equality and inclusion, just as our “Anti-Fascist | Anti-Racist | Always Seattle” banners do. Starting in pre-World War 2 Germany, the three arrows have been a symbol of the fight against fascism, oppression and persecution and to this day continue to represent these important values around the world. Fascism is the exact opposite of these beliefs and therefore cannot be allowed to exist in the same space. If we, as a supporter group, as a soccer club, and as a community allow fascists to be comfortable, they will continue to stand in opposition to what we believe. We will not allow that. We will not stop fighting for what is right.

In response to the use of this flag ECS has been issued a formal warning from the Seattle Sounders for violating the Fan Code of Conduct by displaying political signage. You can read the formal documentation we received in the letter below. On Thursday ECS leadership, Gorilla FC leadership, and Alliance Council leadership met with the club to discuss this. The ownership and leadership of the club stated their belief that the Iron Front is a political symbol and cited complaints they received from season ticket holders about the flag as further reason it would not be allowed.

The rights we stand for are not political, they are human rights. No one should be oppressed or persecuted because of who they are. As with all things in life no one should feel they can’t attend a soccer match and support the club they love. Just like the Iron Front symbol, the Emerald City Supporters stand for the oppressed and the persecuted.

In their unanimous decision to declare the three arrows political and ban it from their stadiums, Major League Soccer and its clubs have done the impossible: They’ve united the supporter groups of this league, including ECS and the Timbers Army. We’re proud to stand with them on the right side of history.

CALL TO ACTION

Let the club know (phone calls go further than emails) that the Iron Front is not a political symbol and how you felt when you saw it flying in the Brougham End. If you’re a season ticket holder, reach out to your ticket rep. If you are not a season ticket holder your voice and opinion still matter, use the contact information here. You can also share your opinion with the Alliance Council (read their #CallingFowl statement as well). ECS members are invited to discuss in our forum.

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Update, 8/3/2019: Following a phone conversation on Thursday with ECS, GFC and Alliance Council leadership, Sounders FC sent us the following letter. We appreciate their apology and re-affirmation of the values and beliefs of the club. While we disagree on the classification of the Iron Front symbol as political, we are proud to share the values of equality, inclusion, anti-fascism and anti-racism with the club. We will continue to advocate for change and encourage our fellow supporters in Seattle and across MLS to join us in eliminating fascism from our stadiums, our cities, our league, and our sport. 

The Seattle Sounders are and always have been a club of the greatest ambitions, and history reflects that. That ambition defines the club, we have won trophies by making the shirt sweat and we’ve won them with beauty and goals. We’ve challenged for every trophy available when we were a USL team taking on giants and when we were the giants. When we made the move to the top flight, we weren’t simply happy to be there, we went after silverware and brought it home. Even our youngest Sounders are not content to be with the best, they defeat the best. Success is our legacy and also our expectation, one that we hold for our current players as well as our future, that we will continue to strive for the best with every opportunity and do what we have to to win. 

Portland can't say that, because ambition doesn’t grow on trees.

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This display had the most painted area of any display we’ve produced. The three curtains and overhead totaled 26,500 square feet (0.6 acres), requiring over 1.2 miles of seams to assemble. Our production team constructed and painted the four banners over a 30-day working session. Overall, over 100 ECS members contributed to production, setup and deployment of the display. 

Ambition is an expectation we hold for ourselves as well, always in support of our team’s highest achievements. Displays like this require commitment from our members and we are always looking for more people to contribute. [To learn more and sign up for the next production session, visit our tifo forum here.]

Pride of Cascadia JTPNWMF

For many of us, pride is a safe and easy experience. We can feel pride in ourselves, our city, our club, and our supporters group with no risk to ourselves. For our LGBTQ+ friends and comrades, however, the simple act of being proud to be themselves is a radical and often dangerous act, risking erasure, discrimination, abuse, and violence.

Our message, “Pride of Cascadia, Pride of the Sound,” celebrates both the pride we feel in supporting the best club in Cascadia and the pride of our LGBTQ+ siblings to be themselves, help create space for others, and flourish in our football community.

Pride of the Sound is a loud and proud subgroup of the ECS open to LGBTQ supporters and allies to foster and inclusive community within our supporter culture. Learn more about becoming a member of Pride of the Sound here

Photo Credit: Joe Towner [PNWMF]