New York Red Bulls forward Dante Vanzeir has been suspended by Major League Soccer and ordered to undergo mandated “training and education sessions” after he was accused of using a racial slur during a match against the San Jose Earthquakes over the weekend, the league announced Thursday.
Vanzeir, 24, will miss six MLS games as part of his suspension and will be “prohibited from participating in the US Open Cup, MLS NEXT Pro games and exhibition matches until the suspension is completed,” the league said in a statement.
The Belgian soccer player was also hit with a fine of an undisclosed amount and was ordered to undergo “league-mandated training and education sessions.”
RED BULLS FORWARD DANTE VANZEIR STEPS AWAY FROM CLUB ‘UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE’ AFTER USING RACIAL SLUR IN MATCH
The discipline comes just days after San Jose striker Jeremy Ebobisse alleged that a Red Bulls player used a racial slur early in the second half of the 1-1 draw between the two teams at Red Bulls Arena on Saturday. A scuffle ensued, causing a lengthy delay that resulted in 21 minutes of added time at the end of the match.
While Ebobisse did not name anyone, Vanzeir issued an apology on Monday.
“I accept full responsibility for my actions. While I did not intend to cause any harm or offense with my language, I know that I did and for that I am deeply sorry,” Vanzeir said in a statement provided by the team.
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Vanzeir was allowed to continue playing in the match, a decision manager Gerhard Struber seemingly regretted after the fact.
“During our match on Saturday, I made a decision that I thought was best given the information I had at that moment,” he said Monday. “While there was a lot of uncertainty at the time, with the information that I now know, the right decision would have been to immediately remove Dante Vanzeir from the game.”
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No disciplinary measures were taken against Struber, but the league said in its statement Thursday that it would continue “to review and improve its in-game protocol.”