Taxi Fountas: DC United striker denies using racial slur against Inter Miami’s Damion Lowe as MLS investigates incident

MLS says it is investigating the alleged incident, which happened at the point where Fountas, who had just scored DC’s goal, got into an altercation with Lowe.

The situation escalated and Fountas and Lowe, who is Black, were booked by the referee before the Miami players gathered and spoke to coach Phil Neville.

Neville spoke to United manager Wayne Rooney, his old England team-mate, who opted to replace Fountas on the sidelines.

In his post-match press conference, Miami defender DeAndre Yedlin said he spoke to Neville and said the players “were not going to continue until we did something about that player and if we didn’t do something, we weren’t going to continue.”

“Damion and another player got into a little fight, as Damion was walking away, the guy called him the N word.”

In a statement posted on his Instagram account, Fountas said he “did not use the word I am accused of.”

“This despicable racism is one I denounce and have not used,” the statement reads. “We had a heated argument on the pitch but I have not racially abused anyone. I strongly reject racism in any form, it is despicable.

“I have many friends from many cultures. I always respect each person’s culture, religion and skin color, that’s why I’m very upset by this accusation and I’m sorry to be falsely accused.”

Referee Ismael Elfath’s report said Fountas and Lowe were both shown yellow cards for “disrespecting the game” and that none of the officials or the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) heard any racist or abusive language.

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“MLS has zero tolerance for abusive and offensive language and we take these allegations very seriously,” an MLS spokesperson said in a statement.

“An investigation into this matter will begin immediately. Further information will be released upon completion of that investigation.”

After the game, Neville praised his players, the referee and Rooney for how they handled the situation.

“I have to applaud my players for keeping their composure, I have to praise the referee for a really difficult situation, he followed the protocols set out by MLS and I have to give Wayne Rooney enormous respect for dealing with it. He did,” Neville told reporters.

“I’ve always known him as a class act, and today he’s stepped up more than I think he’s ever done, more than any goal he’s ever scored. There was a racist comment that was unacceptable. A word was used. I think it’s unacceptable in society. I think I think it’s the worst word in the world.

“I called the players. I asked them if they were okay. I told them that we will continue together, to face this. It was unacceptable. There is no form, there is no place for racism, for me, there is no place for racism.” in society, it’s the same on a soccer field.”

In the post-match press conference, United coach Rooney said: “The referee came and spoke to me and Phil, and there was a complaint, I’m sure it will be investigated. So there’s nothing more I can say.”

In a statement, DC United said they are “aware of the allegations against a player during the match against Inter Miami CF”.

“The club will work closely with Major League Soccer and Inter Miami to investigate the incident,” he added.