Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic misses sitter during press conference when quizzed on the US gun debate

IAN HERBERT: Silent Christian Pulisic misses a sitter on the US gun debate as Chelsea star refuses to speak despite signing open letter to Congress… he merely rolled his eyes and gave an expression of such contempt

  • Christian Pulisic was asked to give his thoughts on the US gun control laws
  • The United States star instead chose not to offer an answer by staying silent
  • A Chelsea representative then stepped in to dismiss the important question
  • Pulisic signed a letter along with US team-mates calling for gun control action
  • Debate comes following a gunman’s attack on an elementary school in Texas 

Perhaps it should not fall to footballers to speak of the 10-year-olds whose lives were ended in the terror of a gunman’s attack on their elementary school in Texas, barely a month ago.

But it just so happens that sport has found its voice, with so many US politicians too cowed to speak out on gun control and risk electoral blowback. Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic has certainly been bathing in the self-reflected glory.

The fresh-faced golden boy of US soccer added his name to an open letter to every member of the US Congress calling on them for action on gun control. He wore one of the orange armbands which the American national team have adopted as an emblem of the fight to ensure the fifth graders at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, did not die in vain. He even threw in a few of his own words about the open letter, placing himself on the right side of the argument.

All of which made your heart sink after he was asked, ahead of Chelsea’s tour match in Charlotte, North Carolina, for some general thoughts on the US ‘gun control situation’. It was the look on his face which said most — a rolling of his eyes and an expression of such contempt that you would have thought someone had asked him to relate the size of his bank balance. He did not speak.

Christian Pulisic was stopped from answering a question on gun control in America

Christian Pulisic was stopped from answering a question on gun control in America

Chelsea do not appear to have anticipated this deeply dismal response yet, in one of those extremely unattractive manoeuvres we occasionally see from stars too cool or self-important to be bothered, Pulisic glanced across at the club’s seemingly unsuspecting press officer.

‘That isn’t something for Christian to answer in this press conference,’ the official promptly said.

Chelsea consequently appeared to be the ones closing down the talk — preventing their player from speaking — though the evidence from close quarters suggests that Pulisic was the one refusing a discussion.

Pulisic is currently in the United States on tour in his homeland with fellow Chelsea stars

Pulisic is currently in the United States on tour in his homeland with fellow Chelsea stars

It is an urgent question. A stampede of people on the Las Vegas strip a few days ago was the latest of a series of mass panics about gunmen on the loose. The US is in a state of hysteria.

Pulisic was possibly too bored to contemplate the question. Or else he was hedging his bets. Discussing that open letter with the USA team press corps, he declared: ‘I think people can say, “it’s not the guns, it’s the people”, but we have to start somewhere.’

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of more gun control. It is a long way from the discussion with those in US sport who have found a voice.

Visitors look at a memorial honoring those killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas

Visitors look at a memorial honoring those killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas

Coco Gauff declared at the French Open semi-final that it was ‘important, just as a person in the world, tennis player or not’, to speak out on gun control. ‘It’s just especially important being where I know people globally around the world are watching,’ she said.

Pulisic’s Instagram has been all about Christian, the all-American hero, of striding out near a plane, training in the sun with Chelsea, playing his 50th game for the nation.

The courage to speak out on an issue which has claimed so many young lives would have meant a great deal more.

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