Another football player was the victim of racist abuse on social media platforms. This time it was a starter of the United States men’s national soccer team who revealed it.
Center-back Mark McKenzie shared a post on Instagram with an image of a racist message he received.
“The amount of racial abuse and personal attacks on myself and my family from ‘supporters’ and ‘non-supporters’ just isn’t it,” McKenzie wrote on her Instagram Stories.
McKenzie, 22, started for the USMNT in the Concacaf Nations League final against Mexico and played the entire game, helping the United States win 3-2 and claim the inaugural title.
He played right from a three-way center backline and his performance was limited by two games that came under the microscope: a second-minute giveaway that led to Mexico’s first goal and a last-minute handball from the extension which resulted in a penalty which was not converted by Mexico. The hand ball was not initially called by the referee and the penalty was awarded only after video review.
Despite the initial mistake, McKenzie recovered and recorded a composed and reliable performance under difficult circumstances: he had to face Mexico’s most skillful forwards at Tecatito Corona, Chucky Lozano and Diego Lainez. He is expected to continue playing a series of games as one of the candidates to replace Aaron Long, who will be sidelined due to a long-term Achilles injury. McKenzie has started both the semi-finals and the finals of the Nations League, and he’s been called up to the United States regularly since his debut in February 2020 (five appearances in total).
Last year McKenzie was one of many professional footballers in America to use his voice and platform to raise awareness of racial inequity and social injustice.
“As much as I love being black and being a part of this community, it’s almost a burden sometimes because you feel like you have to do a lot more to be seen, or to be seen as an equal,” McKenzie told SkySports in an interview, in which he shared incidents of racist abuse he suffered during youth matches. “It’s a drastic statement but it’s a real statement. Whether it’s labor-intensive or if I walk the street. If I walk with a beanie on and a hoodie, I can be considered a threat It’s a real problem and it touches me because it’s my life, it’s who I am.
Stories of racist abuse on social media have been persistent in recent months. Leagues and clubs in England have gone so far as to boycott social media platforms after black players reported being abused.
McKenzie plays his club football with Belgian powerhouse Genk after becoming a local Philadelphia Union player in Major League Soccer. The Union transferred him to Genk in January 2021 for a fee of $ 6 million and in his debut season in Belgium McKenzie won the Belgian Cup and helped the team advance to the qualifying round. in the UEFA Champions League next season. He has made a total of 16 appearances in all competitions, starting Genk’s last three league games.