Union say Kai Wagner won’t play vs. Revolution following allegations he used a racial slur

New England Revolution

New England will face Philadelphia in a crucial playoff matchup on Wednesday at Gillette Stadium.

Kai Wagner
Philadelphia Union defender Kai Wagner playing earlier in 2023. AP Photo/Chris Szagola

Philadelphia Union defender Kai Wagner will not travel with the team to face the Revolution in the second game of the first-round MLS playoff series on Wednesday, according to head coach Jim Curtin

Wagner, 26, was accused of saying a racial slur to New England forward Bobby Wood during the first game of the series on Oct. 28. The Revolution lodged a complaint with the league regarding the alleged incident, and it has been under review since that time.

Though no official resolution to the review has been shared publicly, Curtin made it clear that Wagner would play no part in Wednesday’s game.

“First and foremost, Kai Wagner will not travel with us to New England,” Curtin told reporters on Tuesday. “Hope you guys can respect that there is currently an investigation going on that involves the players’ union, the disciplinary committee, the commissioner, lawyers, and I’m currently not allowed to speak or comment on anything. That investigation is ongoing, so I hope we can respect that moving forward.

“Kai will not be a part of this trip though,” Curtin added. “That part is certain and we’ll move on from there.”

Wood, who joined the Revolution prior to the 2023 season, is originally from Hawaii and has both Japanese and African-American heritage. Wagner, who is German, allegedly said the slur in German. Wood, who played in Germany for more than a decade, knew what was being said.

Neither team has commented publicly on the matter, and the league offered only an initial statement saying that it was investigating the matter.

The Revolution lost 3-1 in the first game, meaning that getting a result on Wednesday will decide whether or not New England’s season continues. If necessary, a third (and deciding) game would be played at Subaru Park on Nov. 12 at 3 p.m.