Disgraced Red Bulls forward Dante Vanzeir returns to the field following six-game suspension1


Disgraced Red Bulls forward Dante Vanzeir returns to the field following six-game suspension and $10,000 fine for racist remarks as New York defeats CF Montreal 2-1

  • Vanzeir called a referee a ‘monkey’ at the end of a game at the start of the season 
  • His teammates unanimously voted in agreement to letting him rejoin the squad
  • DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news

New York Red Bulls forward Dante Vanzeir took the field for the first time since receiving a six-game ban for a racist comment.

Vanzeir previously admitted to calling a referee a ‘monkey’ during a game earlier this season against the San Jose Earthquakes. Along with the six-game suspension he was also fined $10,000.

The Belgian striker claimed he meant it ‘in the sense of clown, dummy’ after disagreeing with a call on the field. 

Speaking to Sporza, the 25-year-old Vanzeir – the record signing for the Red Bulls who only joined the team in February, said: ‘I’ll tell you exactly how it went.’

‘The referee blows his whistle for a foul, after which I enter into a discussion with him. Afterwards I’m still grumbling to myself about the ref. I said then monkey, but in the sense of clown, dummy. Because I thought he made the wrong decision.’

Vanzeir admitted to calling a referee a monkey at the end of a match earlier this season

Vanzeir admitted to calling a referee a monkey at the end of a match earlier this season

The 25-year-old, says he wants to rehabilitate his reputation and keep on playing for Red Bulls

The 25-year-old, says he wants to rehabilitate his reputation and keep on playing for Red Bulls

‘It never even occurred to me that that word would be offensive to one of my opponents. I was grumbling to myself and misjudged the impact of that word. In our language, that word is often used with an intent which is not racist at all.’

At the time it was believed that he had said it to Earthquake striker Jeremy Ebobisse, who said he heard the remark as the team walked off the field but did not believe the remark was directed at himself.

The incident caused large walkouts from Red Bull’s supporters over former head coach Gerhard Struber’s handling of the delicate situation as it played out in real time.

Vanzeir’s teammates however unanimously voted on his return ahead of the game.

‘Yeah, I would say that it has been a process,’ head coach Troy Lesesne said Friday. ‘It has been a very long process for Dante, for our club, for our supporters. The process is not done by the reintegration this weekend.’

Fans were unhappy with a perceived lack of action from Struber when the incident happened

Fans were unhappy with a perceived lack of action from Struber when the incident happened

‘In terms of his process, what I would like to speak to is, that the process started with Dante, number one. Dante did a very good job of admitting to the mistake, owning the mistake, recognizing that it was a huge mistake.’

‘There were consequences that followed that for himself, for our club, for our supporters, for San Jose. There were a lot of parties involved in this and he took ownership, maybe not in the immediate, but very shortly thereafter in order to start this process towards healing.’ 

As for the game itself, Vanzeir had a minimal impact after subbing on for Corey Burke in the 67th minute of action.

During his 23 minutes of play Vanzeir completed 62.5 percent of his passes and did not get off a single shot.



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