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Vanney talks social media abuse directed at Derrick Williams after red card

LA Galaxy coach calls treatment of Williams online “nonsense and inappropriate.”

MLS: LA Galaxy at Inter Miami CF Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The LA Galaxy are gearing up for another big rivalry game this weekend, this one against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, but overshadowing it all is the continued fallout from Derrick Williams’ red-card tackle in the last game.

Williams is awaiting public announcement regarding additional punishment beyond the automatic one-game ban for the red card against the Portland Timbers last Saturday, with most expecting he will get somewhere around 2-4 additional games.

The player who absorbed the horror tackle, Timbers winger Andy Polo, will be out for the rest of the 2021 season, requiring surgery on a torn quad and torn meniscus, admittedly a pretty rare combination to see in the sport.

Head coach Greg Vanney told reporters on Thursday that the week has been hard for Williams.

“I spoke with him after the game and I’ve checked in with him over the course of the week every day, basically,” Vanney said. “We talked about his the moment itself, and what was in his mind and all that stuff and he shared that obviously he’s incredibly remorseful. He reached out to the player in the moment, he reached out to the player after. The loser right now in this is the player who is out for the rest of the year.”

On top of everything? Williams has been getting abused on social media, including racial abuse and death threats, according to Corner of the Galaxy on Wednesday.

Vanney confirmed the abuse that Williams has been getting.

“Derrick is now suffering from some other things that should not be happening and taking place — whether it’s social media or whatnot — that are complete nonsense as well. But Derrick, look, he’s wearing the emotion of it. I can see that in his face and then every day comes out to train he’s trying to move on. But he’s a good guy at the end of the day who got a tackle very wrong, and he knows that and he owns that,” Vanney said.

So what happened on the play? Vanney offered some insight from Williams as to what happened.

“He just said as he broke to go into the tackle he realized that he was a lot closer to the player than he thought or anticipated and then when he went down he knew he just couldn’t get out of it, he knew it was going to be bad and so it’s never a situation that anyone wants to be and he’s not the first guy and he probably won’t be the last. But he feels bad for the player on the other side, there’s no question as we all do and it’s an awful scenario, but it happens in the game.”

Vanney aimed to balance his concern for Williams with his concern for Polo.

“Unfortunately, like I said the victim in this is Andy Polo. We wish him the best and hope that his recovery is speedy and I’ve talked to Gio [Savarese] and sent my best that there as well. So now it’s to support also on our side support Derrick and the stuff that’s going on and try to be there for him,” he said.

Reports indicate that much of the abuse Williams is receiving is coming from abroad, particularly Peru, where Polo is from and where he’s a key player for their national team. Nevertheless, with abuse of public figures on social media, particularly racist abuse, endemic in both American sports too and in this sport globally, the negative attention Williams is facing is a major issue, as Vanney explained.

“Again, as I said the nonsense that goes on in social media and the people and the disrespect and the just sheer lack of, I don’t even know what the right word is because I won’t come up with the right word and the word I want to say probably shouldn’t be said here, but it’s to find out if people who were talking like that, we hope we can find out who they are and we can deal with them because it’s nonsense, it’s inappropriate and much worse than that, to be honest,” he said.

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