L.A. Galaxy defender Derrick Williams targeted with racial abuse after red-card foul, team says

Sports
Portland Timbers midfielder Andy Polo (7) flips over Los Angeles Galaxy defender Derrick Williams (3) as L.A. Galaxy midfielder Sacha Kljestan (16) runs alongside them during the first half of an MLS soccer match on May 22, 2021, in Portland, Ore. Williams received a red card for the foul. (Amanda Loman / Associated Press)

Portland Timbers midfielder Andy Polo (7) flips over Los Angeles Galaxy defender Derrick Williams (3) as L.A. Galaxy midfielder Sacha Kljestan (16) runs alongside them during the first half of an MLS soccer match on May 22, 2021, in Portland, Ore. Williams received a red card for the foul. (Amanda Loman / Associated Press)

The LA Galaxy say new defender Derrick Williams was a recent target of racial abuse on social media after committing a red-card foul that ended the season of Portland’s Andy Polo.

The Major League Soccer club is working with the league and “the proper authorities” to identify the abusers, the Galaxy said Friday in a team statement.

“People who are talking like that, I hope we can find out who they are and we can deal with them,” Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said. “Because it’s nonsense, it’s inappropriate, and much worse than that, to be honest.”

Williams was born in Germany to an Irish mother and a Black American father, and he plays internationally for Ireland, where he grew up. The Galaxy signed the former Aston Villa prospect last March from Blackburn Rovers, and he has started four matches in his first season stateside.

“This abhorrent language and behavior have no place in our sport or in our society,” the Galaxy’s statement read. “We will take the appropriate next steps to protect Derrick and all of our players from these acts of hate.”

Williams was sent off in the 44th minute of the Galaxy’s 3-0 loss at Portland last Saturday after a dangerous tackle on Polo, who will miss the rest of the season after rupturing his quadriceps muscle and tearing the meniscus in his left knee.

Williams could face additional discipline from the league for his tackle. Portland scored all three of its goals in the second half while the Galaxy were a man down.

“Obviously, he was incredibly remorseful,” Vanney said. “He reached out to (Polo) in the moment. He reached out to the player after. The loser right now in this is the player who is out for the rest of the year. Derrick is now suffering from some other things that should not be happening and taking place, whether it’s social media or whatnot, that are complete nonsense as well.

“He’s a good guy who, at the end of the day, got a tackle very wrong, and he knows that.”

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