Washington DC: Fans were able to attend an MLS game in Texas. They booed players who knelt during anthem.
A limited number of fans who were allowed to attend a game in Texas for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic shut down MLS booed as FC Dallas and Nashville players knelt during the playing of the national anthem, a response that disgusted Reggie Cannon.
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“I think it was disgusting. I think it was absolutely disgusting. You got fans booing you for people taking a stand for what they believe in when millions of other people support this cause and we discussed with every other team and the league what we’re going to do and we’ve got fans booing us in our own stadium,” Cannon said. “How disgraceful is that? Honestly, for want of a better word, it (expletive) me off.
“You can’t even have support from your own fans in your own stadium. It’s baffling to me.”
Just over 5,000 fans were allowed to attend the match at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, and 3,000 were present for Dallas’s 1-0 loss.
Cannon said the team had told their opponent and the league that players planned to kneel, as many athletes have since the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others prompted protests across the country. He went on to say that he had asked that the anthem, which was not played during the recent MLS tournament in Florida, not be played. However Commissioner Dan Garber said last week that it would be played before games when fans were in attendance.
“I’m sorry for our fans because we had someone chanting USA, but they don’t understand what kneeling means,” Cannon, a 22-year-old who is also a member of the US men’s national team, said. “They don’t understand why we’re kneeling and they can’t see the reason. They just think we’re the ignorant ones. It’s incredibly frustrating. I’m sorry to have this tone, but you have to call it for what it is.
“I even knew when we decided to kneel, I knew it was going to happen. That should tell you something, I knew we were going to have some negative pushback from having a unified response over what’s going on. That’s the problem. That’s a problem and it hurts me because I love our fans.”
MLS has said it supports players’ right to peacefully protest during the anthem, saying it “stands by the ideals of freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest that are the hallmarks of the United States and Canada.”