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New York Red Bulls player Dante Vanzeir suspended 6 games for racial slur

New York Red Bulls forward Dante Vanzeir has been suspended for six games and fined by Major League Soccer for using racist language during a game against the San Jose Earthquakes, the league announced Thursday.

The Belgian forward is also prohibited from playing in the U.S. Open Cup, exhibition matches or the third-tier MLS Next Pro league until the suspension is over, and he will be required to participate in training and education sessions, MLS said. The league did not disclose the amount of the fine.

Vanzeir had previously stepped away from the team. The Red Bulls said Tuesday that Vanzeir addressed his teammates that day and left "to avoid further distractions."

New York Red Bulls player Dante Vanzeir
Dante Vanzeir of New York Red Bulls during the game against the San Jose Earthquakes on April 8, 2023, at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

San Jose striker Jeremy Ebobisse alleged a Red Bulls player used a racial slur early in the second half of a 1-1 draw on April 8 at Red Bulls Arena. A scuffle broke out among players and caused a lengthy delay.

Ebobisse, who is Black, did not name the player, and the league launched an investigation.

On Monday, Vanzeir took responsibility for the slur and said he would accept any discipline the league might impose.

"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 teammates, coaches, the organization and our fans," he said in a statement. "I made a mistake and will take all the necessary steps to grow.

"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," the statement said.

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