The Los Angeles Galaxy released midfielder Aleksandar Katai on Friday, the Los Angeles Times reported, a day after discussing with him offensive social media posts made by his wife.
Katai, 29, signed with the Galaxy in December as a free agent after two seasons with the Chicago Fire. According to the Los Angeles Times, the team reached a financial arrangement with Katai and will not pay the remainder of his contract. His salary is not public, but is more than $612,500 per year because the team used targeted allocation money, per the Times. He reportedly earned $2.7 million in his two prior seasons with the Fire.
The team released a statement on Wednesday condemning the posts made by Tea Katai and asked they be taken down immediately. Katai also made a statement on Instagram calling the posts “unacceptable.” The team and player spoke Thursday to determine the next steps.
The first post made by Tea, who is in Chicago while her husband participates in workouts near L.A., appeared to be from an Instagram story. It has the screenshot of two New York police officers driving their SUVs through a group of protesters. It was captioned in Serbian, “Ma pobij govna bre!” That roughly translates to “kill the s---s.”
The second post shows a woman running out of a store holding a shoebox and is captioned “Black Nikes Matter,” mocking the Black Lives Matter movement. Per the Associated Press, a third post uncovered has Tea writing in Serbian that the protesters were “disgusting cattle.”
Katai posted the following statement on Instagram, saying he takes full responsibility and the family “will take the necessary actions to learn, understand, listen and support the black community.”
The backlash to both Tea Katai and the team was swift and prompted the immediate response. Katai played in Europe for eight years before joining MLS. He had 18 goals and 12 assists in 62 matches for Chicago and played in both Galaxy games before the COVID-19 hiatus.
The league plans to return in July with a World Cup-style tournament in Orlando, Florida.
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