The LA Galaxy announced Friday they have “mutually agreed to part ways” with winger Aleksandar Katai, two days after racist social media posts from Katai’s wife Tea were widely circulated.
The Galaxy have made an agreement on financial terms with Katai and will not be paying the remainder of his contract, according to Kevin Baxter of the LA Times.
Katai joined the Galaxy in the offseason after two years with the Chicago Fire. The Serbian international played in the Galaxy’s first two games of the season, starting both matches and picking up a yellow card in each.
The actions came about because Tea Katai published multiple posts on her personal Instagram account — which were subsequently taken down, apparently at the Galaxy’s request — advocating for police officers to run over and “kill” protesters around the country in recent days, calling protesters “animals” and mocking the Black Lives Matter movement. The Galaxy condemned the posts in a public statement Wednesday evening, and vowed to meet with Aleksandar Katai Thursday. The player released his own statement, claiming “full responsibility” for his wife’s posts, while also condemning her words and claiming he was not racist.
In this case, words were apparently not enough, as fans went to Dignity Health Sports Park and protested Katai’s presence on the team, and social media overwhelmingly also supported the Galaxy getting rid of Katai.
I think the tide has turned here regarding racist words. The Galaxy could have shielded Katai and said they can’t discipline a player for his wife’s actions. Instead, Katai was guilty by association, with fans concluding he would not be a welcome part of the team, and the club reacted. Frankly, this is a powerful precedent, and in this specific time, when racism and advocating for true racial equality are on everybody’s minds, a zero tolerance policy is welcome.