There was a fragmentation of the boos when players from FC Dallas and Nashville SC collectively got a knee during the national anthem before their Major League Soccer game Wednesday in Frisco, Texas.
Dallas defender Reggie Cannon said he was disgusted by the trend at Toyota Stadium when players and officials knelt down to call attention to racial injustice. He said teammate Ryan Hollingshead then addressed him and said he was sorry.
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“You can’t even have support from your fans at your stadium,” Cannon said. “It̵7;s amazing for me.
“As a team we try to give the best product possible on the field, and these last six months have been absolute hell for us. Absolute hell.”
Dallas and Nashville had not played a game since the season was suspended on March 12 due to coronavirus. While the other teams that played in the MLS tournament is Back in Florida over the past month, Dallas and Nashville were forced to withdraw before the start due to positive COVID-19 tests between players from both teams.
Teams met as MLS resumes regular season in local markets. Some games will involve fans if local jurisdictions allow it. Just over 5,000 were allowed to attend the match at Toyota Stadium, although the crowd that appeared seemed smaller.
Nashville won the match 1-0. The two teams meet again on Sunday.
The death of George Floyd prompted a number of MLS players to form the Black Players for Change group, which seeks to eliminate systemic racism in football and society.
In the opening game of the MLS tournament in Florida, the band members stood collectively in silence, fists raised, for more than eight minutes. Players and coaches wore Lives Matter Vehicle T-shirts throughout the event.
Eight minutes, 46 seconds is the length of time prosecutors say Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was tied to the ground under a knee of a white Minneapolis police officer before he died. (The length of time was later revised to 7 minutes, 46 seconds.)
The anthem was not played before the tournament matches. Cannon said the players had asked for it not to be played before the match because they did not feel it was appropriate “for the anthem to be played at the moment”.
“We had someone cheering in the US, but they do not understand what kneeling means,” Cannon said. “They do not understand why we are on our knees.
“They can not see the reason. They think we are ignorant. It is extremely disappointing. I am sorry to have this tone, but you have to call it what it is.”
Cannon said he expected to see a negative reaction on the unified response.
“It hurts me because I love our fans. I love this club and I want to see the support that the championship has given us, that everyone has given us, from our fans,” he said.