New England Revolution

Union’s Kai Wagner suspended 3 games for alleged racial slur toward Revolution’s Bobby Wood

Wagner will be out for the remainder of the first-round playoff series between New England and Philadelphia.

Kai Wagner
Philadelphia Union defender Kai Wagner playing earlier in 2023. AP Photo/Chris Szagola

Major League Soccer announced on Tuesday afternoon that Philadelphia Union defender Kai Wagner has been suspended three games for “violating the league’s on-field antidiscrimination policy” following an investigation into allegations that he used a racial slur in the Oct. 28 playoff game against the Revolution.

The suspension will start with Wednesday’s matchup against the Revolution (the second game of a best-of-three first-round playoff series), and will continue if the two teams play a third game.

Wagner, 26, was accused of saying an anti-Asian slur to New England forward Bobby Wood. The Revolution lodged a complaint with the league regarding the incident, and it was placed under review. A league source confirmed that Wagner admitted during the investigation that he’d used the slur.


Wood, who joined the Revolution prior to the 2023 season, is originally from Hawaii and has both Japanese and African-American heritage. Wagner, who is German, allegedly said the slur in German. Given that Wood played in Germany for more than a decade, he knew what was being said.

Even before the suspension was announced at 4 pm, Philadelphia head coach Jim Curtin made it clear that Wagner would play no part in Wednesday’s game (set to kick off at Gillette Stadium at 7 pm).

“First and foremost, Kai Wagner will not travel with us to New England,” Curtin told reporters prior to the ruling on Tuesday.

“Kai will not be a part of this trip,” Curtin added. “That part is certain and we’ll move on from there.”

The Revolution lost 3-1 in the first game, meaning that getting a result on Wednesday will decide whether or not New England’s season continues. If necessary, a third (and deciding) game would be played at Subaru Park on Nov. 12 at 3 p.m.

(This post was updated at 4 p.m. to reflect the MLS announcement of Wagner’s suspension).


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