Major League Soccer said it will look into a claim that DC United player Taxi Fountas used a racial slur against Inter Miami defender Damion Lowe during the second half of the team’s match on Sunday night.
Inter Miami won the road match 3-2 to give its playoff hopes a major boost, with Gonzalo Higuain getting the deciding goal off an assist from DeAndre Yedlin in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
But the mood was somber afterwards, with Inter Miami (12-13-6) players revealing that they were ready to walk off the field during the match if something was not done about what they believe Fountas said.
“It was a racist comment,” Inter Miami coach Phil Neville said. “It was unacceptable. A word was used. I think it’s unacceptable in society. A word was used, I think, the worst word in the world. And that’s it, really.”
Fountas and Lowe, who is Black, both received yellow cards in the 62nd minute after exchanging words. That all happened shortly after Fountas scored to tie the game at 2-2.
Inter Miami players gathered and after a period of conversation that lasted several minutes, Neville spoke with Wayne Rooney, his D.C. United counterpart. Rooney took Fountas out of the game, and play resumed.
“There was a complaint, which I’m sure will get investigated. Not much more I can say,” Rooney told reporters.
Yedlin said he has been outspoken about how there’s no place for racism in soccer throughout his career. He said Fountas used the slur as Lowe was walking away from their dust-up.
“If nothing was done, we weren’t going to continue,” Yedlin said.
Once Fountas was taken off, the game went on, but there was no celebration after.
“At the end of the day, it doesn’t even feel like a win because of that incredibly dark moment,” Yedlin said. “So now, we’ll see what MLS does about it. My eyes will be on that a lot, to see what kind of action they take, because it’s now up to them to take action and make a stand and show this not only has no place in the game but no place in society.”
MLS released a statement postgame saying an investigation “into this matter will begin promptly.”
“MLS has zero tolerance for abusive and offensive language, and we take these allegations very seriously,” the league said.