Tuesday, October 4, 2022

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Taxi Fountas accused of ‘calling the N-word to Inter Miami defender Damian Lowe’

The MLS has opened an investigation into allegations that Taxi Fountas called the N-word to Damian Lowe in DC United’s 3-2 defeat by Inter Miami.

The ugly altercation between the two took place in the 62nd minute of the MLS game when the duo shoved each other after Jamaica international Lowe was unhappy with the Greek’s challenge.

Lowe shouted back at Fountas after the alleged bow was used and referee Ismail Elfath then stopped play to speak to both captains.

Things took an even darker turn in the four minutes that followed when former Manchester United team-mates Wayne Rooney and Phil Neville gathered on the sidelines to speak to the official.

Neville then called his Inter Miami players together to discuss whether to continue playing as both players were subsequently booked.

Tensions between the two remained high and they had to be separated a second time, and after a five-minute break play eventually resumed.

DC United manager Rooney then decided to knock out Fountas – who had made it 2-2 minutes earlier – on the next ball off, with the 27-year-old being replaced by Miguel Berry.

The former Derby County manager has been praised for his actions by the Inter Miami boss, with the latter saying he had “gained more respect” for him than for any goal he had scored in the past.

Neville said in his post-match press conference: “It was a racist comment which is unacceptable. The word that was used is not acceptable in society and is the worst word in the world.

“There is absolutely no place for racism on the football field. The owners agree 100 percent. I have to commend my players for staying calm.

“I have to commend the referee for a really difficult situation. He followed the protocols set out by MLS and I have to give Wayne Rooney a lot of credit for handling it the way he did.

“I’ve always known him as a class. In my estimation he rose more than for any goal he has ever scored. The players were injured and disappointed.

“I called the players to me because in my previous job at England we had a lot of experience of racism in certain countries.

“I know exactly how to deal with such situations. I don’t think I’ve ever been as proud of my players as I was tonight.”

Inter Miami defender DeAndre Yedlin, meanwhile, confirmed the players were ready to leave the field after Neville’s clash, saying their win didn’t feel like one despite Gonzalo Higuain’s 94th-minute win .

“If nothing was done, we wouldn’t be going forward,” he said. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t even feel like a win because of this incredibly dark moment.

“So now we’re going to see what MLS is doing about it. My eyes will be on it a lot to see what kind of action they take because it’s up to them now to take action and take a stand and show that not only is this not a place in the game, it’s not a place has in society.

In a separate quote from MARCA, the former Newcastle full-back added: “It’s something I’ve spoken openly about throughout my career.

“It’s really a shame to see that live. Basically Damion (Lowe) and her player got into a little scuffle and when Damion walked away the guy called him the N-word.

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