#808080; line-height: 1.5;">by Carlos D. Mojica (@CD_Mojica) | Photo by Jorge O. Martínez
On March 27, between 3 PM and 6 PM, Gerardo Martino and Albert Roca, head coaches of Argentina and El Salvador, held press conferences in the Redskins Press Conference room ahead of their friendly match the next day. During the press conferences of both coaches, a graphic showing the message “THE REDSKINS WELCOME AFA” was displayed on multiple televisions, but at no point during the press conferences on that day was there a graphic with a message welcoming FESFUT.
Several members of the press in attendance consulted felt it was a sign of disrespect to El Salvador's National Team.Given that FESFUT and the large Salvadoran population in the Metro DC Region already felt disrespected due to the playing of the wrong national anthem during the game, CentroDeportivo.com contacted the Washington Redskins’ Vice-President of Communications Tony Wyllie to find out what had caused this additional oversight during the coaches’ press conferences on March 27.
Wyllie was kind enough to respond, asserting that the images for both national teams had received “equal distribution”, and providing CentroDeportivo.com with a graphic containing the text “THE REDSKINS WELCOME FESFUT”. However, image distribution out in the press conference room on March 27 was not equal since the welcome message to the Argentinians appeared during both Martino’s and Roca’s press conferences while there was no welcome message for the Salvadoran team displayed in the conference room at any point.
Wyllie stated that the Washington Redskins were “honored” to host both soccer federations at FedEx Field. He then gave a statement explaining how what many perceived to be a sign of disrespect was just an oversight, given that the welcome messages “were never designed or intended to coincide with either team’s press conference.”
Wyllie extended an apology on behalf of the Washington Redskins “to anyone who may have been offended.” Below is the full text of the statement made by Tony Wyllie:
"The Washington Redskins were honored to host both soccer federations at FedExField. The welcome message in question was an in-stadium videoboard graphic created to simply welcome both teams during their respective practice sessions. For further clarity, when El Salvador was practicing, the El Salvador welcome message ran exclusively on the in-stadium videoboards. When Argentina was practicing, the Argentina welcome message ran exclusively on the in-stadium videboards. These welcome messages were never designed or intended to coincide with either team’s press conference. In the event the televisions along the perimeter of the FedExField press conference room were turned on and tuned into the in-stadium videoboard feed / channel during El Salvador's head coach press conference, which at the time would’ve been showing the Argentina Soccer Federation welcome message to support Argentina’s on-field practice, we’d like to apologize to anyone who may have been offended."
This episode was one more of the multiple incidents suffered by La Selecta during their initial friendly game in their North American tour (their next game was in Los Angeles against Guatemala on March 31st) before official qualifying matches for FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 and the Gold Cup begin.
CentroDeportivo.com was the first media outlet to report the unequal treatment suffered by the team, which taken as a whole was termed as "poor brother" treatment by the National Team of El Salvador’s Head Coach Albert Roca.