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MLS suspend Red Bulls’ Vanzeir after racist remarks

New York Red Bulls striker Dante Vanzeir has been handed a six-match suspension and fined by Major League Soccer for making a racist remark during a game, the league announced on Thursday.

Belgian Vanzeir had apologized on Monday after San Jose Earthquakes forward Jeremy Ebobisse said that a New York player used a racist epithet early in the second half of Saturday’s game, without naming the player.

MLS said that as well as missing the next six league games Vanzeir is “prohibited from participating in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, MLS NEXT Pro games, and exhibition matches until the suspension is completed.”

In addition to the fine, Vanzeir will have to undergo training and education sessions, as well as join a ‘restorative practices program’. 

In his apology on Monday, Vanzeir vowed to learn from the incident.

“I made a mistake and will take all the necessary steps to grow,” he said.

“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.”

Red Bulls said they “wholeheartedly apologize for the unacceptable events that transpired on Saturday night”.

“The words and inaction was inexcusable, and we believe there is never a place for it,” the team said.

The club’s Austrian coach Gerhard Struber said that he regretted not immediately taking Vanzeir off the field following the incident.

Vanzeir has played for his country once and moved to the Red Bulls in February from the Belgian league.

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