The United States Men’s National Team won a thrilling, 3-2 match against Mexico in the CONCACAF Nations League final on Sunday. Unfortunately, the result was soon marred by the actions of a few “fans” on social media.
Following the win, United States defender Mark McKenzie was the target of offensive, racially-charged comments on Instagram and Twitter. He shared an example of the abuse and pleaded with the perpetrators to stop.
“The amount of racial abuse and personal attacks on myself and family from ‘supporters’ and ‘non supporters’ just ain’t it,” McKenzie wrote on his Instagram Stories late Monday, per ESPN.
On Wednesday, U.S. Soccer defended McKenzie in a statement, condemning the actions of any so-called fan the posted the offensive comments.
“Sadly, a handful of people took the occasion to post disgusting, vile and disrespectful comments directed at players on social media. This type of behavior should not and cannot be allowed to continue.
“U.S. Soccer and the USMNT player want to be clear: If you make racist, homophobic, vulgar or disrespectful comment while hiding behind the anonymity of social media, you are not a true fan. And you are not welcome. Ever.”
There is no room for racist, homophobic, vulgar or disrespectful comments while hiding behind the anonymity of a social media. You are not a true fan and you are not welcome. EVER.
We stand with our players. pic.twitter.com/HxRiXeZjaO
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) June 9, 2021
The statement from U.S. Soccer comes in the wake of the Nations League match that was also tainted by the actions of a few fans. Gio Reyna was hit in the head with a bottle and the referee briefly paused the game after hearing members of the crowd yelling an anti-gay chant.
The Mexican Football Federation released a statement earlier this week, calling out a few supporters for their actions over the weekend.
“We count on your support for the National Team from the stands, avoiding any offensive, discriminatory of violent conduct which does not represent the Mexico of Today, nor those who for years have been recognized as the best fans in the world.”
Hopefully, the statements by the two federations can lead to meaningful change in fan behavior moving forward.