FC Dallas announced that players will remain in the locker rooms during the playing of the national anthem in Sunday night’s game against Nashville SC, four days after fans booed kneeling players during the anthem before a game between the same two teams, also in Dallas.
“In consultation with our players and MLS, we have collectively decided to play the National Anthem before the players take the field for tonight’s match against Nashville SC,” FC Dallas said in a statement. “Prior to the start of the game, there will be a moment of silence for the players, coaches and all in attendance to promote racial equality.”
Prior to Wednesday’s match, some fans booed as players knelt during the anthem in support of Black Lives Matter. One fan reportedly threw a bottle toward players.
“The thought behind it is about balance,” FC Dallas president Dan Hunt told reporters on a conference call earlier Sunday. “We have fans who are passionate about the national anthem and we want to honor and respect that and then we also want to recognize our players and their kneeling. We’ve got to address these social issues that we’ve been facing. This is to draw attention to social equality, these are things we have to work to in the fight against racism. We wanted to separate these two things and that was everybody’s wish here.”
According to ESPN, FC Dallas defender Reggie Cannon received death threats and was the subject of racist posts on social media after he spoke out against the fans’ actions.
“You can’t even have the support of your own fans in your own stadium. It’s absolutely baffling to me,” Cannon said, while also adding, “(The booing fans) don’t understand why we are kneeling. They can’t see the reason, they just think we’re the ignorant ones. It’s incredibly frustrating.”
ESPN also reported that enhanced security measures would be in place for Sunday’s games, though FC Dallas officials did not elaborate on the nature of those measures.
–Field Level Media