Another update to the story that has dominated Orange County Blues news today: The Orange County Blues released a statement responding to Richard Chaplow’s two-game suspension from USL and Chaplow’s public denials he used a homophobic slur in a match, as LA Galaxy defender Robbie Rogers alleged over the weekend.
The Blues say they found "no compelling evidence" Chaplow used a homophobic slur after an investigation, instead saying the English midfielder used "profane language" towards Rogers, calling the encounter(s) between the player and Rogers, the only openly gay player in MLS or USL, "a genuine misunderstanding."
Here’s the full statement, since it really ought to be read in its entirety:
"The past several days have been very difficult for the entire OC Blues family. Many of our fans and supporters have read Robbie Roger’s social media post regarding his altercation with Richard Chaplow during the OC Blues v. LA Galaxy II match on Saturday night. As a Club, we were appalled at the idea that such behavior could take place on our team and on our home field in front of our fans.
As soon as we were notified about the incident, a formal investigation was immediately undertaken in accordance with the OC Blues zero tolerance policy towards any form of bigotry or discrimination. We pursued the investigation vigorously based upon a social media posting by Mr. Rogers.
Richard has from day one strongly denied the allegations that he used a homophobic slur. He does admit to using profane language towards Mr. Rogers, for which he apologizes and accepts responsibility. However, he asserts that it was a genuine misunderstanding, that Mr. Rogers misheard him and at no point did he use any homophobic language.
After several days of constant inquiry, staff and player interviews, and a comprehensive investigation by USL officials in collaboration with the OC Blues and the LA Galaxy, it was revealed that there was no compelling evidence to substantiate a claim that Richard did in fact use a homophobic slur towards Mr. Rogers. Nevertheless, Richard received a two-game suspension and a fine for the use of profane language directed towards another player.
The use of profane language of any sort, whether done in a discriminatory form or not, is never tolerated within our organization as we seek to create an inclusive, family-friendly environment for all of our fans. As a Club, we intend to strengthen our leadership efforts in the prevention of unsportsmanlike behavior on the field and will take meaningful measures to ensure that such behavior will not be repeated again in the future.
We thank the USL committee for a careful and collective judgment in its pursuit of a fair decision."
It appears the matter is closed as far as the Blues are concerned, but expect more reaction to this ongoing story in the days to come. We’ll be sure to cover any additional developments.
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