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Soccer star's response to being criticized for mispronouncing 'Iran' is something we could learn from

He was involved in a heated line of questioning after an Iranian journalist started blaming him for playing for USA.

Soccer star's response to being criticized for mispronouncing 'Iran' is something we could learn from
Image Source: Getty Images/Alex Pantling

Editor's note: This article was originally published on December 2, 2022. It has since been updated.

Middle eastern countries are often overlooked in international media to the point that people don't care to pronounce the names of these countries right. Tyler Adams did in a press conference in November 2022 and was accused by an Iranian reporter of mispronouncing the country's name. However, he responded in the most thoughtful and respectful way possible. In a situation, where most people will lose their cool Adams took this criticism pretty well, reported TODAY.

First, the journalist informed him that he had been pronouncing the country's name incorrectly, saying "eye-ran" instead of "ee-ron." He was then criticized for playing for a country "that has so much discrimination against Black people in its own borders." He handled the testy situation with elegance, just one day before his team's World Cup match against Iran on November 29, which the US must win to move to the next round. 


He said, "There’s discrimination everywhere you go." He added, "One thing that I’ve learned, especially from living abroad in the past years and having to fit in in different cultures and kind of assimilate into different cultures, is that in the US, we’re continuing to make progress every single day." Adams, who has a Black biological father, then pondered on his own childhood. He said, "Growing up for me, I grew up in a white family, and with obviously an African-American heritage and background as well. So, I had a little bit of different cultures, and I was very easily able to assimilate in different cultures."


He requested that people should have patience and an understanding of the whole situation. He said that everyone has the accurate ability to understand what's going on, so "it takes longer to understand, and through education, I think it’s super important." He further thanked the journalist for correcting him on his mispronunciation. He said, "Like you just educated me now on the pronunciation of your country. So, yeah, it’s a process. I think as long as you see progress, that’s the most important thing."

Soccer fans around the world were in awe of his perfect response. New York Foxes, a Soccer club tweeted, "Perfectly handled by the USA’s young leader, Tyler Adams. He doesn’t take the bait and instead teaches a lesson in class and respect."


The heated news conference took place amid long-standing political antagonism between the United States and Iran, as well as a social media statement by the United States Soccer Federation that enraged the Iranian authorities. 

To demonstrate solidarity with Iranian women protesting against the government, the federation tweeted an Iranian flag sans the Islamic Republic's symbol. Iran responded by saying the United States should be kicked out of the World Cup. Adams was questioned about this argument at the press conference, to which he replied, "We’re not focused on those outside things. All we can do on our behalf is apologize on behalf of the players and the staff, but it’s not something that we are part of."

The USA won against Iran with a score of 1-0 in Tuesday's match between the two countries in the FIFA World Cup. The team has now qualified for the knockout stage and will play against the Netherlands on December 3.

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