MLS launch investigation with DC United forward Taxi Fountas accused of ‘calling Inter Miami defender Damian Lowe the n-word’… with Wayne Rooney deciding to take Greece forward off because of alleged racial slur as Phil Neville fumed
- Taxi Fountas and Damian Lowe clashed in 62 minute of MLS fixture on Sunday
- Lowe shouted back at Greek international after alleged use of racial slur
- Referee Ismail Elfath then stopped play to speak to both captains and managers
- Phil Neville then summoned his players to discuss whether they should play on
- DC United boss Wayne Rooney replaced Fountas when ball next went out of play
The MLS have opened an investigation into claims Taxi Fountas called Damian Lowe the n-word in DC United’s 3-2 defeat by Inter Miami.
The ugly altercation between the pair took place in the 62nd minute of the MLS fixture, with the duo pushing and shoving each other after Jamaica international Lowe was unhappy with the Greek’s challenge.
Lowe shouted back at Fountas after the alleged slur was used, and referee Ismail Elfath then stopped play to speak to both captains.
It then took an even more sinister turn in the following four minutes as former Manchester United team-mates Wayne Rooney and Phil Neville convened on the sidelines to speak with the official.
Neville then summoned his Inter Miami players to discuss whether they should continue playing as both players were subsequently booked.
Tensions remained high between the pair and they had to be separated for a second time, and after a five-minute stoppage play eventually resumed.
DC United boss Rooney then decided to take Fountas – who a few minutes earlier had made it 2-2 – off the next time the ball went out of a play, with the 27-year-old replaced by Miguel Berry.
The former Derby County manager was commended by the Inter Miami boss for his actions, with the latter saying he had ‘gained more respect’ for him ‘than for any goal he had scored in the past’.
The MLS have opened an investigation into claims DC United forward Taxi Fountas called Inter Miami’s Damian Lowe the n-word
The ugly altercation between the pair took place in the 62nd minute of the MLS fixture
After the referee spoke with the captains and managers, Phil Neville summoned his Inter Miami players to discuss whether they should continue playing
Neville said in his post-match press conference: ‘It was a racist comment that is unacceptable. The word that was used is unacceptable in society and is the worst word in the world.
‘There is no place at all for racism on the football field. The owners 100 per cent agree. I must commend my players for keeping their calm.
‘I must commend the referee for a really difficult situation. He followed the protocols set out by the MLS, and I must give massive respect to Wayne Rooney for dealing with it the way that he did.
‘I have always known him as a class act. He went up more in my estimations that for any goal he has ever scored. Players were hurt and disappointed.
Lowe (above) and Fountas were both booked by Ismail Elfath for their ugly altercation
DC United boss Rooney then decided to take Fountas off the next time the ball went out of a play
Rooney made the decision despite the Greek having levelled the score just a few minutes prior
‘I called the players over because in my previous job with England we have had lots of experiences in certain countries of racism.
‘I am quite briefed on how to handle these situations. I don’t think I have 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 following the on-field meeting with Neville, and said their win did not feel like one despite Gonzalo Higuain’s 94th-minute winner.
‘If nothing was done, we weren’t going to continue,’ he said. ‘At the end of the day it doesn’t even feel like a win because of that incredibly dark moment.
Neville said he had ‘gained more respect’ for Rooney ‘than for any goal he had scored in the past’
‘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 is 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.’
In separate quoted carried by MARCA, the former Newcastle full-back added: ‘It’s something I’ve been outspoken about my whole career.
‘Really unfortunate to see it live. Basically Damion (Lowe) and their player got into a little scuffle and as Damion was walking away, the guy called him the N-word.’
Inter Miami would end up winning the game thanks to Gonzalo Higuain’s 94th minute winner