Abe Asher/Portland MercuryOne of the biggest stories in Major League Soccer this season is not taking place on the field. On the first of March, just ahead of the beginning of the 2019 season, MLS unveiled a new fan code of conduct — which, among other things, banned the use of “political” signage in stadiums around the league. The ban specifically targets the antifascist, pro-human rights Iron Front logo, which had been a staple of Timbers Army displays since 2017 and was omnipresent in the North End at Providence Park last season. In a letter to the 107 Independent Supporters’ Trust (107ist) in May, the Timbers claimed that the symbol’s presence inside the stadium drew “numerous complaints” from fans who identify it with the antifascist group Antifa. But MLS and its clubs’ position on the Iron Front logo is, both in theory and practice, a mess. The concept of respect for fundamental human rights that fascism necessarily violates may be a contested political position — the president’s former righthand man, after all, recently declared that he’s “not really a human rights guy” — but to argue over whether it’s political or not is to miss the point. The point is… Read full this story
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