New York Red Bulls' Dante Vanzeir banned by MLS after racist remark in San Jose Earthquakes fixture
- Banned for six matches
- Required to take education sessions
- Vanzeir accepts punishment
WHAT HAPPENED? The incident occurred during the second half of Red Bulls' match with San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night when a clash between Vanzeir and Jeremy Ebobisse caused a melee and a 20-minute delay. It subsequently emerged that the Belgian international had used a racist slur towards Ebobisse.
On Tuesday, the player, club and head coach Gerhard Struber all issued apologies for the incident with Vanzeir stepping away from the team until further notice.
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THE BIGGER PICTURE: On Thursday, MLS handed Vanzeir a six-game regular season ban plus an undisclosed fine. In addition, the striker will be required to participate in League-mandated training and education sessions, and a restorative practices programme.
In Vanzeir's statement on Tuesday he accepted his conduct had been unacceptable and agreed to "any suspension, fine and counselling handed down by Major League Soccer." He further added: "I will use this opportunity to better myself, reflect and dedicate my time and efforts to work with organisations the tackle racial injustice."
AND WHAT'S MORE: Vanzeir's signing was seen as somewhat of a coup for the Red Bulls. The 24-year-old's goals had helped fire the fairytale rise of Royale Union Saint-Gilloise from the Belgian second tier to the knockout stages of European competition. Vanzeir himself broke into the Belgian national squad and had a host of suitors competing for his signature.
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WHAT NEXT FOR NY RED BULLS? The Red Bulls will try and get their stuttering season going this weekend at home to Houston Dynamo, although their star signing is now ineligible to play until late May.