New York Red Bull fans demand ‘appropriate punishment’ for Dante after racist riots and leave stadium in protest | sports
The 24-year-old striker, who has only played soccer in the US for two months, used racist language towards his opponent Jeremy Ibobisi in the match against the San Jose Earthquakes last Saturday. Vanzier, who until recently played in the Belgian league in Union, apologized in a statement on Monday. “Although it was not my intention to cause any harm or offense with my language, I know I did and I am deeply sorry.”
The match between New York Red Bulls and Houston Dynamo started about 45 minutes later than scheduled due to bad weather. But the South Ward, the stand behind the goal where loyal groups of supporters normally stand, was largely empty at kick-off. The usual supporters’ banners were also removed in protest.
Prior to the start of the game, some fans were still holding signs with texts such as “Believe Black Players” and “Don’t Give Way to Racism”. After the American National Anthem was played, “Fire Struber” was also sung at the South Ward Amphitheatre. The sale of “against racism” scarves also raised money for an anti-racism campaign.
The three groups issued a joint statement. “We are united in our desire to protest in response to the racism that occurred on April 8, as well as inappropriate actions by the New York Red Bulls and Major League Soccer. We will not actively support at Red Bull Arena until Dante Vanzeir and Gerhard Struber (coach, ed.) “The punishment is fair and they are held accountable for their actions. Although Dante is suspended for six matches, we believe this is not enough. MLS has not adhered to its ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards racism. We call on MLS to re-evaluate their findings and set a precedent that Racism cannot be tolerated.”
“Our protest begins on Saturday. We call on everyone to come out of the stadium with us at kick-off. We also call for a boycott of the commercial stalls. We intend to hold this protest until our conditions are met or we believe the organization has made an acceptable change.”
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