Major League Soccer is the only major professional sports league in the U.S. allowing fans to attend games, and fans in Dallas quickly voiced their disapproval for social justice protests during the national anthem, the Guardian reported.
FC Dallas and Nashville SC played Wednesday in Frisco, Texas, a city just outside Dallas. Players from both teams took a knee during the national anthem before the game as a form of social justice protest, similar to the protests seen in the NBA and MLB.
Fans were not pleased. From the Guardian:
There was a smattering of boos when players from FC Dallas and Nashville SC collectively took a knee during the national anthem before their MLS game on Wednesday night in Frisco, Texas.
Dallas defender Reggie Cannon said he was disgusted by the boos at Toyota Stadium when players and officials knelt to call attention to racial injustice. He said teammate Ryan Hollingshead turned to him afterward and said he was sorry.
Dallas player Reggie Cannon was highly upset with the fans’ reaction to the players’ protest, and he didn’t hold back in his criticism of his team’s supporters.
“You can’t even have support from your own fans in your own stadium. It’s baffling to me,” Cannon said, according to the Guardian. “As a team we try to give the best possible product on the field and these last six months have been absolute hell for us. Absolute hell. You got fans booing you for people taking a stand for what they believe in. 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. How disgraceful is that? Honestly, for lack of a better word, it pissed me off.”
Cannon also said players had asked for the anthem not to be played before the game because it didn’t feel right in the moment.
Cannon didn’t elaborate on why the past six months might have been any more hellacious for the players than for anyone else enduring the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and national unrest, or why fans would be obligated to support their protest just because they attended the game.
The game was played at Toyota Stadium, which has a capacity of 20,500. A maximum of 5,000 could have attended, although fewer than 3,000 showed up, according to the official count.