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Report: Kai Wagner under investigation for alleged use of racial slur



Photo by Carl Gulbish

Philadelphia Union left back Kai Wagner is currently under investigation by Major League Soccer for the alleged use of a slur in Saturday’s game against the New England Revolution, The Athletic reported Monday.

Per The Athletic, Wagner directed a slur typically directed at Asian people toward New England forward Bobby Wood, who is of Japanese and African American descent.

As reported, the incident was made aware to match officials by New England staff and was put into center referee Pierre-Luc Lauziere’s match report. The report alleges that during an encounter between both sides in the 87th minute of the match, Wagner directed a slur in German toward Wood, who entered into an exchange with Wagner. Wood spent several years of his career playing in Germany, including time in both his youth and senior careers.

Regardless of his standing with the MLS investigation, Wagner’s return to the Union next season is unlikely. After a long contract dispute with the Union, reports have indicated that he will not be returning in 2024.

Now Wagner’s involvement for the duration of the MLS Cup Playoff is uncertain.

The 26-year-old left back has been with Philadelphia since 2019. He was hailed as a diamond in the rough discovery when he was brought in from the Würzburger Kickers, then of the third division of German soccer. Since 2019, Wagner has appeared in 138 matches and started in 136. He’s been established as one of MLS’ best defenders while scoring five goals and 32 assists in his five years with Philadelphia.

Joe is a junior at Penn State studying journalism and sports studies, among other things. He's covered the Union since 2017 and has written for Brotherly Game / Philadelphia Soccer Now since 2019. He seeks to answer life's greatest questions, such as, "How did I get here?" and "Where is that large automobile?" You can find Joe on Twitter (iamjoelister) or via email (

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