Major League Soccer is investigating allegations that a New York Red Bulls player made a racist remark during their match with the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.
Earthquakes striker Jeremy Ebobisse said Saturday night that the incident occurred in the 54th minute of the 1-1 draw in New Jersey, and it nearly prompted the Earthquakes to walk off the field. Ebobisse didn’t reveal who made the racist remark, but said that the player in question claimed it wasn’t directed at him or anybody in particular.
“What is important for me to share is that I know what I heard and the reason why I felt, after a lengthy conversation, we should continue with the game is because the player who said the word claimed it was not aimed at any of us,” Ebobisse said, .
It’s unclear what was said specifically, or who was involved other than Ebobisse. The incident resulted in 21 minutes of stoppage time.
MLS announced it would “promptly” start an investigation into the matter on Saturday night.
“MLS has zero tolerance for abusive and offensive language and takes these allegations seriously,” the league said in a statement, in part. “An investigation into this matter will begin promptly.”
The Red Bulls said in a statement on Saturday night that they were cooperating fully with the investigation. The Earthquakes issued a similar statement in support of the investigation.
“It was brought to our attention during Saturday’s match that one of our players allegedly used a racial slur on the pitch,” the Red Bulls said, in part. “The New York Red Bulls take these matters very seriously and promptly reported the allegations to Major League Soccer … The New York Red Bulls do not condone any form of harassment or discrimination.”
Ebobisse, a 26-year-old from Cameroon, has scored twice in seven matches so far this season. The Earthquakes sit 3-2-2 .
“It is important we dig out all the facts. I want to be as open as possible here,” Ebobisse said, . “There is a lot of uncertainty here, I want to respect what will hopefully be a robust investigation. A difficult situation. I am grateful I was with my teammates … Whether that is a good faith comment or not we shall see as the investigation goes on. But a difficult moment where players were put in charge, have to manage all sorts of emotions because the system is not robust enough.”