MLS is investigating after Earthquakes’ Jeremy Ebobisse used alleged racial slurs in the game against Red Bulls


Jeremy Ebobisse did not name the New York player or reveal what he said during their Saturday night game. MLS is investigating the incident. (Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)

Major League Soccer is investigating allegations that a New York Red Bulls player made a racist remark during their game against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.

Earthquakes forward Jeremy Ebobisse said Saturday night that the incident occurred in the 54th minute of the 1-1 draw in New Jersey and almost caused the Earthquakes to leave the field. Ebobisse did not reveal who made the racist remark, but said the player in question claimed it was not directed at him or anyone in particular.

“What’s important for me to share is that I know what I heard and the reason why after a long conversation I felt like we should move on with the game is because the player who spoke the word said, claimed it wasn’t directed at any of us,” Ebobisse said via ESPN.

Red Bulls and forward Dante Vanzeir issued an apology on Monday, with Vanzeir saying he had “no intention of causing any harm or offense with my language”. What exactly was said is still unclear. The incident resulted in 21 minutes of downtime.

MLS announced on Saturday it would launch an investigation into the matter “immediately”.

“MLS does not tolerate abusive and abusive language and takes these allegations seriously,” the league’s statement said, in part. “An investigation into this matter will begin immediately.”

The Red Bulls said in a statement Saturday night that they are fully cooperating with the investigation. The Earthquakes issued a similar statement in support of the investigation.

“In the game on Saturday, we were made aware that one of our players was said to have been racially insulted on the pitch,” said the Red Bulls in part. “The New York Red Bulls take this matter very seriously and promptly reported the allegations to Major League Soccer… The New York Red Bulls will not tolerate any form of harassment or discrimination.”

Ebobisse, a 26-year-old Cameroonian, has scored twice in seven games so far this season. The Earthquakes sit at 3-2-2.

“It is important that we dig up all the facts. I want to be as open as possible here,” Ebobisse said on ESPN. “There’s a lot of uncertainty here, I want to respect what hopefully will be a robust investigation. A difficult situation. I’m grateful to have been with my teammates… Whether that’s a good faith comment or not, we will see.” The investigation continues. But a difficult moment where players have taken command and have to deal with all sorts of emotions because the system is not robust enough.

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