scorecardresearch Skip to main content

Union’s Kai Wagner suspended three games for use of racial slur against Revolution’s Bobby Wood

Kai Wagner, 26, was accused of saying an anti-Asian slur to New England forward Bobby Wood.Chris Szagola/Associated Press

Major League Soccer announced 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 understood what Wagner had 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.

Hayden Bird can be reached at