Ahead of the Orange County Blues’ game on Wednesday, USL announced midfielder Richard Chaplow has been suspended two games and fined an undisclosed amount for "offensive and abusive language directed at another player" during the Blues’ game Saturday against LA Galaxy II.
Curiously, the league’s release makes no specific note of the incident in question, which is LA Galaxy defender Robbie Rogers’ claim a Blues player repeatedly used an anti-gay slur at him during the game, in which Rogers was playing on loan with LA Galaxy II. The accusation has been widely circulated, although Rogers did not name the player in question when announcing the abuse, which he said was the first he encountered in American soccer since announcing he was gay and returning to the sport four seasons ago.
"The USL has zero tolerance for this type of behavior," said Jake Edwards, President of the USL, in the statement on the suspension. "We cannot, nor will we, condone any language that is counter to the values we have instilled throughout the USL."
The two-game ban will likely be quite controversial to many observers. MLS suspended Marc Burch three games back in 2012 when he was caught clearly uttering a homophobic slur on camera, and Alan Gordon was suspended three games as well in 2013 for a similar offense. Given the context, of a gay player being subject to homophobic abuse by an opponent, and allegedly repeatedly, it would seem that Chaplow should deserve far more than three games, let alone just two.
The Blues previously announced they would be investigating the matter as well, and one hopes they will come down harder on Chaplow, who joined the team last month after a career spent in his native England, than the league did. We’ll be on top of more to this story as it develops.
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