Dante Vanzeer retires from Red Bulls to avoid controversy

Belgian forward Dante Vanzeer has indefinitely retired from the New York Red Bulls after using a racist swear word during a match against the San Jose Earthquakes last weekend. On Tuesday, the Red Bulls issued a statement saying that Vanzeer had contacted his teammates this morning and had withdrawn “to avoid further misunderstandings”. This decision comes a day after an apology from VanZeer, coach Gerhard Struber and the Red Bulls organisation. Major League Soccer is investigating the case.

San Jose forward Jeremy Ebobis alleged that a Red Bulls player used a racial slur at the start of the second period during the 1-1 draw between the two teams at Red Bull Arena. An argument broke out between the players, which led to a lengthy delay and a 21-minute extra time at the end of the match. Ebobiss did not name the player, but said the Earthquakes decided to play to the end because the insult was not directed at a specific player. The league launched an investigation and issued a statement shortly afterwards saying, “MLS has zero tolerance for abusive and offensive language and takes these allegations seriously.

On Monday, Mr Vanzer took responsibility for his statement and said he would accept any disciplinary sanctions the league may impose. “I will do everything in my power to contribute to the change that is needed in this sport and in our world. I also want to apologise to my teammates, coaches, the organisation and our fans,” the statement read. “I made a mistake and I will do whatever it takes to grow. “Although I didn’t mean to hurt or offend with my words, I know that I did and for that I am very sorry,” he added.

The Red Bulls said the comment and the omission of VanZeer’s suspension was “inexcusable”. Stroubert apologised and admitted that he should have suspended VanZeer. “We always try to create an inclusive and anti-racist environment. Our organisation is committed to dedicating resources to further educate our players and staff and rebuild trust in our community,” the team said.

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