MICHAEL ADUBATO - Thursday, March 30, 2006
Standard Liege and USMNT defender Oguchi Onyewu has been the victim of an unprovoked racially motivated attack following an evening out with friends.
Onyewu, with a rare weekend night free, had travelled to take in the key Anderlecht versus Brugge clash with friends, but saw the peaceful evening end with a frightening confrontation following the match.
"A guy came up to me and said 'Congratulations for the season, you're a great player,'" Onyewu told YA. "I thought, 'Cool, that's nice coming from a Brugge fan.'"
"Another came and asked me for an autograph and I thought it's not as bad as I thought it would be."
However what had started innocuously enough soon took a turn for the worse.
"We go ten feet further and people are screaming and giving the finger and giving signs and yelling racist stuff at us."
"I wanted to wait to get to my car because I didn't want to show them where my car was," the American claimed. "We waited until they left, then got in the car. [Unfortunately] some fans saw me get in the car."
Though now in the assumed safety of his vehicle, Onyewu and his girlfriend were soon surrounded by a group of thugs.
"When you leave the stadium at Brugge you have to pass by the fans to leave and you can't drive fast - you have to drive slowly so you don't hit the fans."
"So I'm going slowly and they're looking in the car and people noticed me and [pointed] and then it started," he recalled. "People were flicking me off and banging on my car, on the trunk and kicking the car."
"[They] actually broke something in the back of my car."
The American, not one to back down from any physical confrontation on the field, had initial thoughts of defending himself, before common sense prevailed.
"I put the car in park and I wanted to get out," Onyewu remembered. "My girlfriend grabbed me and told me to stay in because there were 40 of them."
When asked if he planned to file a police report about the incident, Onyewu stated he felt that it would have been a waste of time.
According to the American, numerous police officers were in the vicinity on security detail and had witnessed the incident without intervening.
Though reports of the incident have made their rounds through the Belgian press, it is unclear at this time if any investigation will be conducted by Club Brugge or the police.
Onyewu and second-placed Standard return to action on Saturday night when they face Mouscron at the Sclessin.