The MLS tie between New York Red Bulls and San Jose Earthquakes has turned into a prominent topic of discourse among Football circles. And unfortunately, for all the wrong reasons.
The match was unfolding in routine fashion all the way up until the 54th minute when a brief exchange between 2 players spurred on quite a bit of controversy.
Following the exchange, a full-blown melee ensued, and play had to be stopped for about 15 minutes, making for some truly shocking scenes.
For those out of the loop, here’s what happened
The racism incident involving Dante Vanzeir and Jeremy Ebobisse
Despite all the efforts to kick racism out of Football, the heinous sentiment sneaked its way into the beautiful game once again.
It all occurred during the second half, as San Jose striker Jeremy Ebobisse appeared to lash out at NYRB’s Vanzeir, in response to certain comments made by the Belgian forward. Vanzeir looked to have directed some harsh words toward the striker, leaving him absolutely incensed.
Ebobisse angrily pushed the Belgian, and he was soon backed up by his teammates, all of whom charged toward Vanzeir.
The Red Bull forward was promptly pulled away by his teammates, as a look of bafflement quickly rose on his face.
After these events, the game was halted, leaving viewers confused as to what exactly had happened.
Meanwhile, Ebobisse and the Earthquakes continued to express their displeasure to the referee.
Following the break, the match appeared to resume as normal, aside from the astounding 22 minutes of time added on for stoppages.
Further updates on the incident came after full-time, as Ebibosse confirmed that he was the victim of racial remarks, although he refused to name the player responsible.
Shortly after, the MLS confirmed its intentions of launching a formal investigation into the matter, the results of which will be presented at a later date.
In the meanwhile, official statements have been released by all parties involved, including the New York Red Bulls and Dante Vanzeir.
NYRB and Dante Vanzeir’s Response to racism allegations
The club’s official statement branded the actions to be ‘inexcusable’ and ‘unacceptable’ while offering a formal apology. NYRB also released a statement on behalf of Vanzeir and head coach Gerhard Struber.
The Belgian’s statement read, “I will do everything I can to be part of the change that needs to happen in this sport and our world. I also want to apologize to my team-mates, 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.”
Struber’s statement likely came as a response to the criticism he received for not taking off Vanzeir after the break in play. Despite being intended as an apology for failing to do so, the statement certainly didn’t read like one, something which many fans online have pointed out.
The disgraceful incident is yet another instance of blatant racism in Football, and it comes during the same week as the racist incident involving Romelu Lukaku.