Since the establishment of Seattle Sounders FC in the MLS era, ECS has blazed its own paths to support home and away, while observing and learning from those before us. And in recent years, ECS members near and far have experienced a wide array of treatment and behavior from front offices, opposing supporter groups, and other entities involved in matchday. During that time, if there’s one constant observation, it’s the consistency of inconsistency.

That’s not to say there aren’t quality efforts from front offices and the league. Our beloved Sounders have made strong efforts to keep away supporter treatment consistent – from tifo exemptions to ticket pricing – and continue to try and work with their compatriots to create similar experiences elsewhere.

All that said, we must address some of the language in the latest iteration of the MLS Fan Code of Conduct, as issued on March 1, 2019. To start, the league’s own statement says that it has a “transparent, consistent set of sanctions,” but we’ve also been given guidance that not all uses of “consistent” are created equal.

Most prominently, we want to call attention to the wickedly general use of the word “political,” as observed by the 107ist board of directors and many other supporters. After multiple members were ejected from BC Place during the 2017 Western Conference Semifinals for defending another member’s previously utilized personal two pole with the language “Anti-Fascist, Anti-Racist, Always Seattle”, Sounders FC ownership released a statement – signed by all four owners – enforcing our position that this was not a political statement. Beyond that, we were informed that this particular two-pole would be allowed in our sections afterward, and that the club did not believe that being anti-fascist or anti-racist was political. We stand by this understanding and see no reason why that position should change between 2017 and today.

The league, however, seems to disagree. Or at least appears comfortable with inconsistency and grey areas. In our pre-season meeting with the club where they gave us a preview of this document, we were told that the decision of what was political would be decided by individual clubs, and that each club would enforce that decision for their own home venues. Furthermore, we were told that behavior outside of the event would be subject to this code of conduct, another topic with a lot of possibility for significant variance and interpretation. And yet, the league has chosen to turn a blind eye towards known neo-nazis and fascists.

Our position is simple: Standing up for human rights is not political. Defending marginalized people is not a political issue. As an organization, the Emerald City Supporters has never endorsed political parties or candidates; that isn’t our purpose for being. What is part of our focus is the creation and protection of an atmosphere within the Sounders community that celebrates the diversity of our members, our team, and our city. Our strength is unity, and we will continue to stand opposed to those who would work to undo that foundation. We stand with those who support these core values.

ECS looks forward to responses from MLS and its member clubs and believes this is an opportunity to find a position that supporters, players, and ownership alike can align on.