Some fans booed FC Dallas and Nashville SC players who kneeled during the national anthem prior to their MLS game Wednesday in Frisco, Texas.
One fan was thrown out of Toyota Stadium after throwing a water bottle at the players, according to The Dallas Morning News.
FC Dallas’ Reggie Cannon, a Black player originally from Texas, said it was “absolutely disgusting.”
“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?” Cannon said, according to MLS. “Honestly, for lack of a better word, it pissed me off. You can’t even have support from your own fans in your own stadium. It’s baffling to me.”
National anthem plays, all players and refs are kneeling: pic.twitter.com/WGwHCBjdiW
— Angel Madison Franco (@angelmadison_) August 13, 2020
The game was the first major sports league match in the United States to be held with fans since the coronavirus pandemic shut down play in March, according to CNN. Fans were required to sign a waiver and wear a face mask at all times.
Players in other U.S. sports leagues have kneeled during the national anthem in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Those leagues, including the NBA, WNBA and MLB, have not had fans in attendance since the pandemic hit.
Cannon said fans do not understand what kneeling means or why players are kneeling.
“They can’t see the reason. They think we’re the ignorant ones,” Cannon said, according to the Associated Press. “It’s incredibly frustrating. I’m sorry to have this tone, but you have to call it what it is.
MLS stated in June it “stands by the ideals of freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest that are hallmarks of the United States and Canada.” It further stated support for players and staff kneeling during the national anthem.