The Empire Supporters Club and Garden State Ultras will not have the opportunity to honor former New York Red Bulls captain Dax McCarty with a tifo demonstration.
Today, the ESC put out a statement, which the New York Red Bulls confirmed, stating the group had been sanctioned. The sanction prohibits the group from producing a tifo, overhead banner, or use smoke for the next two games.
In a statement, ESC said the sanction came "without warning," from the club, after it appeared no action would be taken from two "isolated incidents."
The incidents stemmed from a sign with inappropriate language being displayed during the New York Red Bulls vs. D.C. United match from ESC, followed by a scarf with inappropriate language being displayed ahead of a match against the Columbus Crew by GSU, a New York Red Bulls spokesperson said in a statement to SNY.
ESC's statement said the supporters group acted "quickly and assisted in removing the sign from the section when requested."
In a club statement, the New York Red Bulls said it took into consideration that the "organization also has a responsibility to foster a matchday experience that is welcoming and respectful to all guests," when handing out punishments.
"Both displays also occurred in areas where supporters are given special privileges to be," the club statement said. "While isolated incidents, the organization felt it was important to take action at this time to end this pattern of behavior in the South Ward. If there are no incidents over the next two matches, both groups will be able to return to normal matchday activities involving the use of smoke and signage."
Club supporters had already begun plans to honor McCarty with a special tifo for his contributions to the Red Bulls. Similar honors have been bestowed on club favorites such as the return of Juan Pablo Angel in 2011. McCarty was traded by the Red Bulls in January to the Chicago Fire, in what was seen as an unexpected move. A club spokesperson says, "the club previously did and still does plan on recognizing Dax during pregame."
"Unfortunately, as of right now, we won't be able to give Dax the welcome he rightfully deserves after his unceremonious exit from the team," the ESC statement read. "Regardless of any administrative action against us, we will still show up to support the boys on the field and show Dax the love and appreciation he deserves. We aren't here for suits in the front office, we're here for the guys who give their all for us."