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Supporters remain upset after Red Bulls walkout

Red Bulls fans could continue to protest the club's response to a racist comment made by striker Dante Vanzeir, with a Hudson River Derby walkout possible.

Red Bulls supporters groups walked out at the start of the game to protest racist remakes made by a striker Dante Vanzeir. | Photograph courtesy of John Perd.

The largest supporters groups of the New York Red Bulls made sure that the game against Houston Dynamo FC on Saturday, April 15, was quieter than any played at Red Bull Arena since 2020, when COVID emptied the stands. Empire Supporters Club and Viking Army Supporters Club, two groups officially recognized by the club, were joined by Torcida 96, and staged a Red Bulls walkout immediately after the opening whistle sounded.

These Red Bulls fans felt they needed to make their feelings known after the team’s newly-signed striker Dante Vanzeir made a racist remark during the previous match against the San Jose Earthquakes. Vanzeir was handed a six-game suspension and an undisclosed fine, later revealed to be $10,000. But that punishment didn’t seem harsh enough to many in the New Jersey team’s fan base.

The striker was signed for a team-record $5.3 million earlier this year, which means the fine comes to just 0.19% of his current contract. The amount of time given is also suspect to some, considering the league’s “zero tolerance” policy against racism while other offenses have received longer punishments. One noted example of this was Sporting Kansas City’s Kortne Ford who was suspended 10 games last season for the use of performance-enhancing substances, and fined 20% of his annual salary.

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