USA TODAY US Edition
Current events frankly ‘baffling’
Now playing professionally and living in Europe, American soccer player Reggie Cannon has had to field questions about life in the United States.
He spoke recently about the difficulty of quantifying recent current events to his teammates. “Looking at the insurrection, Texas freezing over right now … explaining to my teammates what is going on in the country is baffling to me,” Cannon said in an interview with The Guardian. “Explaining the America I have lived in to those who don’t live in America, it feels like I am describing medieval times.”
A 22-year-old fullback who also plays for the U.S. men’s national team, Cannon was transferred in September from MLS’ FC Dallas club to Boavista FC, a Portuguese first division team.
Before Cannon moved to Europe, the summer saw a racial reckoning with millions of people protesting systemic inequalities and police brutality cases.
In August, Cannon knelt during the national anthem in an FC Dallas game versus Nashville SC, which prompted a smattering of boos from the home crowd in Frisco, Texas. At the time, Cannon called the reaction the fans had “disgraceful” and has continued to speak out against racial inequality.
“It’s such a polarizing issue when you get down to it, but we knew we had to do something that would spark conversation, and that was the perfect opportunity to do so. People were against violent protest, they were against peaceful protest, but they weren’t against any of that, they were against us speaking, us talking to point out the injustices that my people are facing and have been facing for the longest time,” he said.
Cannon said he received death threats and drew a link between the racial strife and the administration of former President Donald Trump.
“That whole situation with Dallas was handled terribly and there were repercussions of it, but my career wasn’t affected by that and I am able to get to the next level in good time,” Cannon said. “Unfortunately, my safety in America was compromised, and that’s the risk you take with pointing out injustices because people are going to disagree. Threatening to kill your family, threatening to show up at your house, threatening to do vulgar things to you, that I can’t say. It is, unfortunately, part of the society that America is today, especially when Trump was in charge. Now we have moved past that.”
When asked about the election of President Joe Biden, Cannon said he didn’t think “one man can fix the damage done ... which is a huge issue which people refuse to admit.”
According to The Guardian, Cannon’s grandfather is Warren M. Washington, who was awarded the National Medal of Science by former President Barack Obama in 2009.
“Growing up I didn’t even know what my grandfather had done all for my country, for science,” Cannon said. “He has done an incredible amount of work. Even now, where people still reject climate change in America, I look at the work my grandfather has done to scientifically prove a lot of that exists and it’s a threat that is coming – it’s really incredible to see the groundbreaking work he has done, especially as an African American in his time.”