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Initial response to USL suspension of Richard Chaplow is negative

Action was taken, but many believe it was not nearly enough.

Chaplow’s ban not sitting well with many.
Southampton F.C. (used with permission)

It remains to be seen what more will come out of the promised investigations surrounding LA Galaxy defender Robbie Rogers’ report that he experienced repeated homophobic abuse from an Orange County Blues player while on loan to the LA Galaxy II, but with the news from USL on Wednesday that Blues midfielder Richard Chaplow is the player in question and has been suspended two games for his actions, the initial response to the league suspension has been rather negative.

Perhaps one of the most articulate responses, unsurprisingly, comes from a fellow USL player, Harrisburg City Islanders midfielder Bobby Warshaw, who has written extensively about playing soccer professionally and is outspoken on many topics regarding the sport.

The two-game ban seems to be rather light, especially in context of USL’s partner MLS and their previous precedent of three games for multiple incidents regarding homophobic speech being uttered during a game.

The Gay 4 Soccer Twitter account, which has long been an advocate for gay voices in the sport, also made several good points in the aftermath of the suspension.

And SB Nation’s U.S. National Team site Stars and Stripes FC issued a firm condemnation of USL’s punishment:

I’m begging the USL to reconsider their punishment. This sort of thing absolutely cannot happen in this day and age. It’s ridiculous that it was at one time acceptable or just ignored in the past, but we’re in a new age of equality and acceptance. USL’s handing of this situation sets a really bad precedent. A message needs to be sent and that message needs to be that there’s absolutely no place in our sport for ignorant behavior like this.

The ball appears to now be in the Orange County Blues’ court regarding further action. Clearly, no matter what is or isn’t meted on this matter to Chaplow, there will be people unsatisfied with the punishment, but two games suspension by the league clearly seems to be not good enough for many who play, watch and write about the sport.

But will the Blues take further measures, or will they attempt to sweep the issue under the rug once Chaplow’s suspension is served? Many eyes will be on the organization in the next few weeks, and it’s a big chance for the team, which gets very little attention in American soccer locally and nationally, to make a statement that truly promotes inclusivity and fully condemns unacceptable conduct on the field.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!