New York Red Bulls player Dante Vanzeir and head coach Gerhard Struber are both under fire following a racial slur. During the club’s matchup with the San Jose Earthquakes, Vanzeir allegedly used a racial slur towards striker Jeremy Ebobisse. Vanzeir, a Belgium international, essentially admitted to saying the slur by issuing an apology after the game.

Player will fully accept MLS punishment

“I want to sincerely apologize to the players of the Earthquakes,” Vanzeir said in a statement. “I will do everything I can to be part of the change that needs to happen in this sport and our world. Also, I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches, the organization, and our fans. I made a mistake and will take all the necessary steps to grow.” 

“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. I will agree to any suspension, fine and counseling that is handed down by Major League Soccer and the club.”

“I will use this opportunity to better myself, reflect and dedicate my time and efforts to work with organizations that tackle racial injustice.”

Struber kept Vanzeir in game after incident

While Vanzeir is receiving backlash for his alleged slur, New York Red Bulls’ manager is under fire for his inability to adequately deal with the problem. Despite it being quite obvious what happened, Struber elected to keep Vanzeir on the pitch for an additional 30 minutes. At one point RBNY goalkeeper Carlos Coronel can be seen angrily discussing the incident with Struber, but the coach waves him away.

Struber also released a statement on Monday reflecting on his decision to leave Vanzeir in the game. “During our match on Saturday, I made a decision that I thought was best given the information I had at that moment.”

“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.”

Many pundits and fans criticized MLS and New York Red Bulls for the handling of the incident. MLS officials are currently investigating the deplorable incident. RBNY have claimed that they will fully cooperate with the league’s probe.

The league is now on Apple’s global streaming platform. Therefore, incidents like these are a bad look for the league. This is particularly true when decision makers handle these issues as poorly as this.

Vanzeir only just joined the club in February from Belgian side Union SG.

Photo: IMAGO / Icon Sportswire