- Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC.
The LA Galaxy released midfielder Aleksandar Katai after racist social media posts made by his wife, Tea, the team announced Friday.
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In a one-sentence news release, the team said that it had “mutually agreed to part ways” with the midfielder, who joined the team before this season after spending the previous two campaigns with the Chicago Fire. The Galaxy reached a financial agreement with Katai and do not have any further financial obligations to the player.
The Instagram posts made by Tea Katai late on Tuesday, which have since been taken down, mocked protests related to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week. One post showed a police SUV attempting to drive through protestors in New York. A caption in Serbian read, “Kill the s—s!” while a second post showed a picture of an individual carrying boxes of Nikes with the caption “Black Nikes Matter.”
The response from Galaxy fans was quick, with some demanding Katai’s release. One social media post showed four fans holding a banner in front of Dignity Health Sports Park stating, “No Racists in Our Club” with Katai’s No. 7 circled with a red slash through it.
Katai, 29, later posted a message on Instagram calling the posts “a mistake from my family” and saying he took full responsibility. He also apologized “for the pain these posts have caused the LA Galaxy family and all allies in the fight against racism.”
The Galaxy issued a statement on Wednesday condemning the posts, saying that, “The LA Galaxy stands firmly against racism of any kind, including that which suggests violence or seeks to demean the efforts of those in pursuit of racial equality.”
At the time, the team said they would meet with Katai on Thursday to determine next steps. After the meeting, the two sides had decided to part ways.
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