Around 2,912 MLS fans were allowed inside Toyota Stadium on Wednesday, and some weren’t pleased with FC Dallas and Nashville SC players who kneeled during the playing of the national anthem.
FC Dallas defender Reggie Cannon was one of the players who kneeled, and he didn’t appreciate the fans’ response.
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“I think it was absolutely disgusting,” Cannon said after the game. “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. ... You can’t even have support form your own fans in your own stadium. It’s baffling to me.”
Many MLS players have kneeled to protest social injustice and police brutality throughout the season, but this was one of the first instances in sports where fans were present since the movement has gained more traction during the return of sports. MLB, WNBA, NBA and NHL have had players protest during the anthem, too, but no fans were in attendance.
Wednesday represents the latest example of what the protest means to people. Some view it as a way of showing what makes America great; a chance to express your beliefs freely. Others view it as a sign of disrespect to the flag and the country.
The match was FC Dallas’ first since March. Cannon said that the league and Nashville were aware of the plans. He initially requested that the anthem not be played, but the players would have kneeled whether it was played or not.
Joe Kelly acted like he wasn’t trying to inflict punishment on the Houston Astros’ batters, but it didn’t take a math teacher to put two and two together to get his reason for doing it.
While he didn’t say it directly, Kelly all-but-confirmed his intent to punish Astros players by stating his dislike for the way they handled the sign-stealing scandal.
“The people who took the fall for what happened is nonsense,” Kelly said on his teammate Ross Stripling’s podcast, Big Swing. “Yes, everyone is involved. But the way that [sign-stealing system] was run over there was not from coaching staff. ... They’re not the head boss in charge of that thing. It’s the players. So now the players get the immunity, and all they do is go snitch like a little [expletive], and they don’t have to get fined, they don’t have to lose games.”
Kelly’s disdain for the situation is similar to many others. No Astros players were suspended or fined despite having large roles in the cheating scheme. At the end of the day, they were the ones hitting the baseballs.
Kelly was originally suspended eight games by MLB for throwing at Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa. After an appeal, it was changed to five games.
In just three seasons, George Kittle has solidified himself as one of the best tight ends in the NFL. He’s recorded at least 80 catches, 1,000 yards and five touchdowns in the last two years.
The 49ers rewarded their star tight end with a five-year, $75 million contract extension, making Kittle the highest-paid tight end in the NFL.
Hours later, another top-level tight end cashed in, too. The Chiefs locked up Travis Kelce with a four-year extension. Patrick Mahomes signed an extension earlier this summer, and now he’ll have one of his top targets for the foreseeable future.
Kittle and Kelce’s deals completely reset the tight end market. No other tight end is making more than $10.6 million annually. Their new deals would put him just outside of the top 10 of wide receiver’s annual pay, for comparison.
Rob Gronkowski, Jared Cook and Hunter Henry will be free agents after this season. Eagles tight end Zach Ertz will be a free agent in 2022, just like Kelce was scheduled to be. With a big season, he could be next.
If anyone thought the tight end position was losing its value, then that can now be put to bed. The NFL’s two highest-paid players at the position were in the Super Bowl last season.