Serbian midfielder Aleksandar Katai has effectively been sacked by his employer, MLS side LA Galaxy, after inflammatory racist social media posts were published by his wife.
The news was confirmed by the club in a brief statement on Friday, stating his employment had been terminated by mutual consent after they became away of the comments earlier in the week.
Tea Katai had become embroiled in the furore surrounding the death of the Afro American man, George Floyd, whilst in police custody nearly two weeks ago, and, writing in Serbian, she described those associated with the Black Lives Matter campaign as disgusting cattle and urged violence against them.
The posts have since been deleted but created a media storm of their own when they were translated into English, and led to Katais contract being terminated. Katai himself has been very apologetic and taken full responsibility for his wife’s comments, which he has been at pain to stress he does not share. He has also said sorry for the hurt that Teas posts have caused people, especially those fighting against racism.
However, as far as he is concerned, the damage is done, and his career with the Galaxy, and probably in the MLS as well, is now at an end.
The 29-year-old Serbian international had only joined the Galaxy in December, after leaving the Chicago Fire, and had made just two appearances for his new club when the season was halted because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Galaxy have since affirmed their support and solidarity with people of colour, in their protests and struggles against systematic racism and oppression.
The death of Floyd has sparked a wave of support for the Black Lives Matter movement both within the US sporting community and from further afield, with footballers, tennis and basketball players, and Formula One drivers amongst those lending their support to the protests.
And the Katai incident comes hot on the heels of NFL quarterback Drew Bees, who was forced to issue his own abject apology after criticising players who took the knee in protest against institutionalised racism. The player with the New Orleans Saints faced a firestorm of criticism for his remarks and he has now backtracked on his comments.