Members of the Rose City Riveters, the supporters’ group for the Portland Thorns, brought white roses and hung signs at Sunday’s game between the Thorns and Chicago Red Stars to protest a policy that bans the use of political signs and displays at games.
The ban was implemented by Major League Soccer at the start of the 2019 season, but the Timbers organization has enforced the ban at both Thorns and T2 games this year as well. Among the specific signage that is barred by MLS’s new fan code of conduct for being political is the “Iron Front” symbol, an emblem with three arrows pointing downward which was first used by an anti-Nazi paramilitary organization in Germany in the 1930s.
“Some have asked why the Timbers are enforcing an MLS rule at NWSL and USL games,” the Timbers organization said in a statement last Monday. “Neither league has a Supporter Code of Conduct. All of our operational staff for Providence Park games are the same. Having different rules for different teams creates confusion among staff and for fans alike. We also believe that what is allowed, for those wishing to trumpet opposition to fascism at MLS games, is also a fair and reasonable approach for Thorns and T2 games.”