Canada, CONCACAF condemn racist comments directed at player after Lionel Messi tackle

Canada said it was 'deeply disturbed' by language against the player, who was harassed after a hard tackle on the Argentina superstar

Jun 20, 2024; Atlanta, GA, USA; Argentina forward Lionel Messi (10) plays the ball against Canada defender Moise Bombito (15) during the second half at Mercedez-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Canada men's national team and CONCACAF have spoken out in response to racist social media comments targeted at one of its players, which began after Canada's 2-0 loss to Argentina in the Copa América group stage on Thursday.

In a statement, Canada said that it was "deeply disturbed" by the comments, and that the team was communicating with CONCACAF and CONMEBOL about next steps.

Although the statement did not name the player directly, it is understood to be referring to Canadian defender Moïse Bombito.

Bombito received racist comments on his Instagram page after tackling Argentina star Lionel Messi and clipping the 36-year-old forward on the ankle during Canada's game against Argentina on Thursday. Messi went down in pain after the contact.

Bombito did not respond to the comments directly, but posted a story on his Instagram. "My beautiful Canada," the 24-year-old defender wrote on the story. "No room for that bs."

CONCACAF released a statement Friday as well, saying that it stands with Bombito and that it is working with CONMEBOL and FIFA to investigate the accounts that made the racist comments. "We will continue to use our reach to promote unity and respect," CONCACAF wrote in the statement.

The Colorado Rapids, where Bombito has played for two seasons, also expressed its support for the defender, condemning the racist language. "We're extending our love and standing beside Moïse Bombito," the team wrote on X.

A spokesperson for Meta, which owns Instagram, told The Athletic that it has taken down racist comments on Bombito's page.

The incident is reminiscent of the aftermath of the 2022 World Cup, when members of France's national team received racist messages on social media after Argentina defeated France in the World Cup final, and racist chanting directed at France captain Kylian Mbappé during the championship celebrations.

Canada plays Peru on Tuesday as the group stage continues, while Argentina will play Chile on the same day.