Former Man City defender Nedum Onuoha could leave Real Salt Lake after owner fails to back protest of Jacob Blake shooting

Five MLS games were postponed on Wednesday as athletes in the US continued to boycott sporting events 

Alex Pattle@alex_pattle
Friday 28 August 2020 16:08
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Nedum Onuoha with his Real Salt Lake team-mates
Nedum Onuoha with his Real Salt Lake team-mates

Defender Nedum Onuoha has admitted he could leave Real Salt Lake after the Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise’s owner failed to back his side’s protest over the shooting of Jacob Blake.

Real’s home game against Los Angeles FC was among five MLS matches to be called off on Wednesday, with owner Dell Loy Hansen saying he felt “disrespected” by the postponement.

In response to Hansen’s comments, former Manchester City player Onuoha told the BBC: “I don’t want to be here, because I’m not here to play for someone who isn’t here to support us.

“We are trying to create a bigger conversation, but a lot of the people who are in power don’t empathise or sympathise or do anything. They are more concerned with themselves.”

Billionaire Hansen said the postponement of matches might force him to reduce his investment in Real and make redundancies across the franchise.

“We’re all sitting here at an organisation trying to build support and love around a team that supports the city,” Hansen told a local radio station.

“All I can say is they supported other issues nationally. They clearly did not support our city or our organisation. That’s fairly clear.

“It’s a moment of sadness. It’s like somebody stabbed you and you’re trying to figure out a way to pull the knife out and move forward. That’s what it feels like. The disrespect is profound to me personally.”

Blake, a black American, was shot in the back seven times by police on Sunday in Wisconsin, and on Wednesday the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their NBA fixture as two other games were postponed.

Nedum Onouha played for Manchester City between 2004 and 2012

In baseball, three MLB games were called off after teams decided not to play, and former women’s world No1 tennis player Naomi Osaka pulled out of her semi-final at the Western & Southern Open in New York on Thursday. She later reversed her decision, however.

Onuoha, who spent six years at Queens Park Rangers before his transfer to the United States, said MLS players cannot exert the same level of influence as club owners and the league itself.

“It didn’t feel right to be playing a game when people are trying to highlight a big conversation and things that are bigger than sport,” said Onuoha, who admitted in June that he did not feel safe as a black man living in the US.

“I was brought to tears this morning as I was listening to stories of what has happened over the last few days and knowing the owner isn’t in agreement and now seeing this stuff here.

“These are cries for help and for people at the very top to get behind us, because that is where the biggest change can come, but we are being left and being criticised.

“If you want to make a stance, the pushback is massive and MLS players don’t earn enough money to feel that they have enough value to have an opinion and to be able to make change.

“I’d like to say I’m proud, but I wish it is something that we didn’t have to do.”

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