At Sunday’s MLS Western Conference Semifinals between the Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps in British Columbia, two Sounders fans were removed from the stands after they hung and then refused to move a small banner that said “Anti-fascist, anti-racist, always Seattle.”
The fans, members of a Sounders fan club called Emerald City Supporters, hung the banner before the game and were asked to remove the sign around halftime, according to a report on SB Nation’s Sounders team site. When they wouldn’t take it down, police arrived and the fans were forced to leave or be arrested.
In video of the incident, police argue with the fans, and at one point appear to try and yank the banner away. The fans are escorted out, one of them holding the banner up as she left the stadium.
From the description of the YouTube video:
The ECS brought in a banner today at the Sounders vs Whitecaps match that said “Anti-Fascist, Anti-Racist, Always Seattle”. This banner was held at entry for the Stadium to decide if we could display it. We were allowed to display it. After we had it returned to us the MLS league official decide it was inappropriate and had BC Place security and Vancouver police try to confiscate it. In the end they removed both ECS presidents and another member. This is a continuous issue that the MLS has been having with the ECS. Major League Soccer is proving by their actions that they are not Anti-Racist like they say they are or Anti-Fascist like they would like to say they are.
Per the report, “an MLS official told ECS that the sign was considered ‘political speech.’”
“We will have a statement this afternoon regarding this topic and will touch base with you ASAP,” an MLS spokesperson said when reached by Deadspin.