Union D Kai Wagner banned 3 games for racist language

League: MLS

Posted on: 07 Nov, 2023 at 10:17 PM

Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Soccer suspended Philadelphia Union defender Kai Wagner for three matches Tuesday for violating its "on-field antidiscrimination policy."

Wagner, a 26-year-old from Germany, admitted he used racist language toward New England Revolution forward Bobby Wood, who is Black and part-Japanese, in last Saturday's playoff opener.

Wagner said an anti-Asian slur in German while arguing with Wood during the match, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Wagner will miss Match 2 of the best-of-three first-round playoff series between the clubs. The Union lead the series 1-0, but if the Revolution were to come back and win in three matches, the final match of Wagner's suspension would be carried over into the 2024 regular season, the league said.

"Wagner is also required to continue to participate in league-mandated education and training sessions, a process which has already begun, and must remain in full compliance with a program directed by a league-appointed restorative practices expert," MLS said in a news release.

"In reaching this decision, MLS considered many factors, including Wagner's immediate acceptance of responsibility, willingness to participate in a restorative practices process to repair the harm caused and his cooperation with the league's investigation."

In April the league decided on a six-match suspension for Dante Vanzeir, then of the New York Red Bulls, for using racist language.

Wagner is in his fifth season with Philadelphia and started 28 matches in the regular season, totaling one goal and seven assists. He had an assist in the Union's 3-1 win over the Revs on Saturday.

Wood, 30, is in his first season with the Revolution after spending the 2010s playing for various clubs in Germany. He had seven goals and five assists in 29 games (19 starts) in the regular season.

--Field Level Media