Both Major League Soccer and FC Dallas released statements late Thursday in support of Dallas defender Reggie Cannon, after the player was the recipient of what FCD characterized as "racist comments and death threats."
Dallas' statement, attributed to owners Dan and Clark Hunt, read in part: "We want to be clear: We love and support Reggie Cannon. The racist comments and death threats he received are repulsive and unacceptable."
Minutes earlier MLS commissioner Don Garber released a statement of his own with similar sentiments.
The statements are the latest chapter in what has become an escalating situation following Wednesday's match between FC Dallas and Nashville SC. During the national anthem, both teams opted to kneel in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, which followed similar gestures by players and teams during the just-concluded MLS is Back tournament held just outside of Orlando, Florida.
In Wednesday's instance, the gesture was met with some boos at a match that had fans in attendance, while one person hurled a bottle onto the field. According to an FC Dallas spokesperson, the perpetrator was ejected from the stadium.
Following the match, Cannon was interviewed and expressed his displeasure at the response of some fans, describing it as "absolutely disgusting." He added that, "You can't even have the support of your own fans in your own stadium. It's absolutely baffling to me."
After initially indicating that the team wouldn't be commenting on Cannon's reaction, Dallas eventually released a statement that read in part, "FC Dallas supports our players and fans in their right to express themselves in a peaceful manner."
In the interim, Cannon began receiving hateful and threatening statements on social media, resulting in the statement from MLS and later from the Hunts.
Cannon is a member of the recently formed Black Players Coalition, an organization comprised of over 70 Black players in MLS. Formed in June, the organization's goal is to address racial inequities in MLS as well as positively impact Black communities across the U.S. and Canada.