The following is a post from Ina Doerr.
There were murmurs earlier this year about what happened when an Iron Front Portlandia tifo was displayed on May 10, 2019, in B.C. Place before the start of the Vancouver Whitecaps–Portland Timbers match. Vancouver was the first match of the season with tifo by the Timbers Army; an away match, but an important away match — a Cascadian away match.
The murmurs have since been overtaken by the roar of #AUnitedFront, so one could be forgiven for not realizing, or even forgetting about, what that tifo showed us: MLS and, by extension, the Portland Timbers Front Office (FO), fundamentally misunderstands the Iron Front image and sees it as a potential threat to corporate sponsorship and television deals.
Months later and here we are, on the day of another Cascadia match. The league continues to dismiss the supporters groups' concerns about the arbitrary nature of the Code of Conduct. Its commissioner continues to send dog whistles to white supremacist-alt right-nationalists that MLS is a place where money is more important than morals. The FO continues to put out garbled messages with contradictory and misleading information.
People in our community have written wonderful pieces on the history of the Iron Front and its significance in contemporary times. Others have written about the League and FO’s treatment of its most important asset: its supporters.
I encourage you to read their words and find something that resonates with you, helps you better understand the situation, encourages you to donate time or money to just and equitable causes, and prepares you for conversations you never imagined you’d have about three arrows pointed down and to the left.
I urge the league to rescind its ban on flying the Iron Front flag, remove the arbitrary word “political” from its fan code of conduct, and work 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 the players and coaching staff caught in the middle of this battle, who may be feeling awkward not having the full voices and displays of support we usually show you on the pitch, please know that this isn’t about you. It’s about us — all of us.
I leave you with this, and apologies to Ronald Talney for changing the last line:
She kneels down, and from the quietness of copper reaches out. We take that stillness into ourselves, and somewhere deep in the earth our breath becomes her city. If she could speak this is what she would say: Follow that breath. Home is the journey we make. This is how the world knows who we are.