US Soccer says players were targeted by 'racist comments' after loss to Panama in Copa América


The U.S. Soccer Federation said Thursday several of its players were subjected to “racist comments” online after the USMNT’s loss to Panama in a Copa América match in Atlanta. 

The USSF released a statement condemning what it called “hateful and discriminatory behavior” that followed a tense clash at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. 

Team USA fans celebrate with the flag during a game between the U.S. and Panama June 27, 2024, at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“U.S. Soccer is aware of and deeply disturbed by the racist comments made online and directed at several of our Men’s National Team players following tonight’s match,” the statement posted to X said. 

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“There is absolutely no place in the game for such hateful and discriminatory behavior. These actions are not only unacceptable but also contrary to the values of respect and inclusivity that we uphold as an organization. U.S. Soccer stands firmly against racism in all forms and will continue to support our players.” 

The statement followed a difficult night for the U.S.

The Americans played shorthanded for the majority of the game after Tim Weah was issued a red card in the 18th minute of the game for punching Roderick Miller in the back of the head.

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Salvadoran referee Ivan Barton shows a red card to U.S. forward Tim Weah (21) during a 2024 Copa América tournament group C match between Panama and the U.S. at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta June 27, 2024.  (Eduardo Munoz/AFP via Getty Images)

USMNT, DOWN A PLAYER AFTER TIMOTHY WEAH RED CARD, FALLS TO PANAMA IN SHOCKING COPA AMÉRICA MATCH

He issued an apology after the game. 

“Today I let my team and country down,” Weah said. A moment of frustration led to an irreversible consequence, and for that, I am deeply sorry to my teammates, coaches, family and our fans. Moving forward, I am committed to learning from this experience, not allowing an opponent to provoke me, and working to regain the trust and respect of my team and supporters.”

According to The Associated Press, the USSF reported the abuse to CONMEBOL, the South American organizers of the tournament. USSF did not name the players subjected to the online hate.

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Referee Ivan Barton talks with United States players, including Johnny Cardoso (15), Christian Pulisic (10) and Cameron Carter-Vickers (2) during the second half of a game against Panama at Mercedes-Benz Stadium June 27, 2024, in Atlanta.  (Perry McIntyre/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

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“Our organization works continuously toward the evolution of a new culture that eradicates expressions of racism, offensive content on social media and all forms of violence or discrimination,” CONMEBOL said in a statement. “We condemn attitudes of intolerance in every place and on every occasion, especially those hiding behind social media accounts.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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