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The captain of the US men’s national team has been praised after a journalist rebuked his pronunciation of Iran and asked him about the “discrimination” of Black people in America.
Tyler Adams, who has a Black father and white mother, was criticised by the Iranian reporter for calling the country “Eye-ran” and not “Ee-rahn” ahead of the World Cup clash on Tuesday between the countries.
He was then asked if he was “okay to be representing a country that has so much discrimination against Black people in its own borders?”
The tense confrontation came after US Soccer officials removed the Islamic Republic emblem from the Iranian flag in support of protests over the death of Mahsa Amini.
Mr Adams, who plays for Leeds United after joining from Germany’s Red Bull Leipzig, apologised for his mispronunciation and deftly fielded the discrimination question.
“There’s discrimination everywhere you go,” he said.
“One thing that I’ve learned, especially from living abroad in the past years and having to fit in different cultures, is that in the US, we’re continuing to make progress every single day.”
Mr Adams added context by saying that he grew up in a white family as his Black father was not present in his life.
“I grew up in a white family, with obviously an African-American heritage and background as well,” Mr Adams said.
“I had a little bit of different cultures, and I was very easily able to assimilate in different cultures, so not everyone has that ease and the ability to do that.”
And he highlighted the importance of education and credited the Iranian journalist with doing just that.
“Obviously, it takes longest to understand and through education, I think, is super important,” Mr Adams said.
“Like, you just educated me now on the pronunciation of your country. It’s a process. I think as long as you see progress, that’s the important thing.”
The way Mr Adams handled the press conference was praised by football journalists and others join Twitter.
“I can’t tell you how impressive Tyler Adams was facing questions from Iranian media at today’s press conference,” tweeted Grant Wahl.
And former US player Taylor Twellman added: Any questions on who and what a leader is?! (Tyler Adams) I salute you.”