We might like, of course, to speak of other things after an important win on the road. But we can’t. And we shouldn’t.
There is, now, only one thing.
"We are all in support of Diego Chara. What happened to him today, the discriminatory word that was said to him, should not have a place anywhere."— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) June 27, 2021
Gio Savarese addresses why the game was stopped in the 65th minute, and expresses his disappointment in how it was handled. #RCTID pic.twitter.com/5FUmTwErq5
Already a few are trying to offer a defense of racism by pointing to the Timbers’ earlier handling of racial abuse against LAFC player Adama Diomande (now playing for Cangzhou Mighty Lions of the Chinese Super League). This, of course, is simply a distraction.
The morning after the full story is still developing. MLS has announced an investigation.
Minnesota United’s initial response, as reported by Andy Greder, was wholly inadequate to the situation.
A Loons spokesman told the Pioneer Press early Sunday morning that Heath “spoke with the player and (the player) says he didn’t say anything.” The club would not confirm the identity of the player who allegedly made the statement.
The club has now, though, announced their support of an MLS investigation.
The best reporting on the incident at the moment comes from Andy Greder:
In the 62nd minute of the Loons’ 1-0 victory, television cameras showed Chara making a hard tackle of Loons winger Franco Fragapane, but play continued. The two players briefly crossed paths soon afterward and before a Timbers’ shot went out of bounds and play was paused for a restart.
Then referee Rosendo Mendoza stopped play, talked with other officials and held a brief meeting with players from each team; Timbers captain Diego Valeri and Chara and Loons captain Michael Boxall and Wil Trapp. Fragapane tried to enter the conversation, but teammates kept him away.
As the facts are still coming out, there is not much to add. But if we speak of this team as ours then we must also speak of this moment as ours as well. As fans and supporters this is now who we are. IF the abuse occurred, it is not all that we are, but it is ours as well. Many of us, of course, would like to think that we are better than this. Even after a year of being told otherwise. Even after last night many will want to believe we are better, that this is not us, that this is not all of us. But until we do differently, until other voices speak for us, this is who we are.