Xavier Arreaga ignited a fair amount of consternation and criticism on Tuesday when he posted an arguably homophobic and transphobic cartoon to his Instagram feed. The image depicted a television beaming rainbow-coloured waves into the brains of a boy and a girl while showing each of them the reverse of stereotypical clothing for their gender. The TV’s arms are also wrapped around two parental figures with hands covering their mouths.
Arreaga eventually removed the image and then posted this message:
Of note, he had posted the apology both to his Instagram stories and to his main feed, but the latter post has since been deleted.
Asked to comment on the situation, Seattle Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer expressed disappointment with Arreaga but also suggested it presented an opportunity to start a conversation.
“I don’t agree with it; I don’t agree with it all,” Schmetzer said about the cartoon. “People are who they are. It’s not TV trying to brainwash people.
“A lot of people were hurt by that Instagram post. They have a right to be hurt. Xavi apologized and when he comes back [from national team duty] I’ll have a good conversation with him, trying to help him out. In the club, we have a good social-equity network and he’ll sit down with them and talk things through and just make sure he understands what he shared wasn’t correct.”
Beyond disagreeing with the implied worldview of the image, Schmetzer also shared some frustrations with social media and the type of discourse it encourages.
“It’s America, we have a right to free speech,” he said. “You get it. I don’t know who’s guiding him. I don’t know who’s running his Instagram account. Maybe that’s where we can step up and help him.
“I think Twitter and Instagram are just reflective of the divide we find in this country on many different topics. People use it because they can hide behind a - character statement. They can do that. But when we have a conversation face-to-face, there’s more respect. If you say something that I don’t like, I can respond back and we can have a conversation. People don’t talk to each other enough these days.”
Arreaga is currently with the Ecuador national team and was not available for comment.