THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch football fans hurled a barrage of racist abuse at AZ Alkmaar and United States striker Jozy Altidore on Tuesday during a Dutch cup quarterfinal against second-tier FC Den Bosch.
Altidore, who is black, said he had never faced such serious abuse from the stands, but shrugged it off after the match, which his team won 5-0.
"There's nothing I can do about it," he told Dutch television's Eredivisie Live. "All I can do is pray for them and hope they can become better people."
The racism was all the more shocking as it came just weeks after Dutch football authorities pleaded for more respect at all levels of the game following the death of a linesman after he was attacked by players after a match between two youth teams near Amsterdam in December.
"It's a bit disappointing that these things still happen in this time that we're in," Altidore said. "But what you going to do? You just hope these people can find a way to improve themselves. You can only pray for them."
The 23-year-old striker, one of the Dutch league's top marksmen this season, focused on the need for education.
"At the end of the day it's still alive, racism. All we can do now is try to educate ourselves, the young kids coming up, to be better than that," he said.
Den Bosch repeatedly urged its fans to halt the monkey chants, to no avail.
"Obviously, we hear about those things and (we're) not pleased with it at all," U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. "When that type of stuff happens, no matter where in the world you go, you don't want to see it. (Altidore) told me about it."