Players from FC Dallas and Nashville SC, along with match officials, knelt during the U.S. National Anthem ahead of Wednesday’s game at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, TX to protest racial injustice and support the Black Lives movement.
“We want to be clear: we love and support Reggie Cannon,” FC Dallas President and CEO Clark Hunt and Chairman Dan Hunt said in a joint statement Thursday.
“The racist comments and death threats he has received are disgusting and unacceptable.
“There is no place in our sport, or in our country for that matter, for the kind of horrible vitriol Reggie has had to endure today. Hateful or violent threats are never justified – especially when they are directed against a member of our FC Dallas. family. ”
First game since March
Played in front of nearly 3,000 fans, the game between Dallas and Nashville had been the first MLS game for both teams – and the first game before the fans – since the league’s suspension in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The fan reaction also drew sharp criticism from MLS Commissioner Don Garber, who in an MLS statement Thursday called some of the comments made on social media after the game “appalling” .
“As we have consistently stated for many years, Major League Soccer supports players and staff who demonstrate peacefully in the name of equality and social justice,” the league said.
“We want to be very clear that MLS will not tolerate any abuse or threat against any individual player or team who decides to exercise their right to protest peacefully while the national anthem is playing. or any other pre-match ceremony. “
Cannon said he did not understand the reaction of a small part of the crowd.
“You have fans booing you for people who stand for what they believe in,” Cannon said after a 1-0 loss to Nashville.
“Millions of other people are supporting this cause and we’ve talked with all the other teams and the league what we’re going to do and we have fans booing us in our own stadium. How shameful is that? Honestly. , for lack of a better word, it pisses me off.
“You can’t even have the support of your own fans in your own stadium. It’s confusing to me.
“I even knew that when we decided to kneel down, I knew it was going to happen. This should tell you something, I knew we were going to have a negative reaction to having a unified response on what was going on. This is the problem, this is a problem. “