USMNT’s Mark McKenzie, coach Gregg Berhalter call out ‘disgusting’ online racist abuse targeted at defender

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United States men’s national team defender Mark McKenzie was the target of racist abuse online this past weekend following the team’s 3-2 win in extra time over Mexico in the Concacaf Nations League. The Genk defender, who is Black, was targeted after helping the U.S. win the first-year trophy and build momentum ahead of next month’s Gold Cup. 

“The amount of racial abuse and personal attacks on myself and family from ‘supporters’ and ‘non supporters’ just ain’t it,” McKenzie wrote on Instagram. 

U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter spoke to the media on Tuesday ahead of the USMNT friendly with Costa Rica and was fed up with what transpired. 

“It is absolutely disgusting, things like that. It has no place in sport,” Berhalter said. “You take enough criticism about performance and guys having off games and saying you’re not a good player. To bring something like race into is absolutely disgusting and out of bounds.”

After seeing the fight for racial equality in the game across Europe, Berhalter backed his player. 

“Now it hits closer to home,” Berhalter said. “We support Mark 100 percent and don’t stand for any of that. We have absolutely zero tolerance for stuff like that.”

The U.S. will take on Costa Rica on Wednesday in a friendly ahead of the Gold Cup in July. World Cup qualifying beings later this year for the red, white and blue. 

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