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LAFC issue statement in response to Diomande racism claim dismissal

Notably, LAFC are “disappointed” in Portland Timbers’ statement.

MLS: LAFC Culinary Tour Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday, U.S. Soccer released a statement saying they have closed their investigation into Los Angeles Football Club forward Adama Diomande’s accusation he had been called a racist slur in a U.S. Open Cup game on July 18 against the Portland Timbers due to “insufficient evidence.” The investigation did not corroborate Diomande’s claim, so they split the difference, saying they couldn’t find proof but they’re against racism or any discrimination as a principle.

The Portland Timbers stoked the fires by immediately putting out an aggressive response. Among the lowlights, the statement included the following: “It is our strong belief that the alleged incident at the U.S. Open Cup match as depicted by the opposing player simply did not happen” and “It is regrettable that there was even a suggestion of any wrongdoing by a Timbers player.”

LAFC were quiet on the matter until Friday morning, when they released a statement of their own. While they accepted the findings of U.S. Soccer’s investigation, they rightly expressed concern over the Timbers tone in their statement.

During the U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal match on July 18 in Los Angeles, there was an on-field incident involving a Portland Timbers player allegedly calling LAFC forward Adama Diomande a racial slur.

We respect the U.S. Open Cup Adjudication and Discipline Panel process and their thorough investigation. LAFC accepts U.S. Soccer’s finding that the matter was inconclusive based on insufficient evidence and did not have a basis to value the credibility of one player over another in this matter.

We are disappointed that the Portland Timbers issued a statement that was dismissive of our player and the investigation by concluding it “simply did not happen”. We stand by Adama Diomande and his courageous public statement.

LAFC remain committed to creating a safe, positive, welcoming and inclusive environment for all players and fans at Banc of California Stadium. This is what our Club stands for as we continue to work to Unite the World’s City Through the World’s Game.

Frankly, I’m glad to see this response. The Timbers were out of line in their statement, and LAFC should publicly express their dissatisfaction at the Timbers’ claim that Diomande lied about the incident. There is considerable space between U.S. Soccer’s finding that the whole thing may have been a misunderstanding, one that itself may be spurious but is at least entirely plausible, and rejecting a claim of a racial epithet being used by turning it on the accuser and claiming he is a liar. The Timbers could have supported their own accused player and concluded that the matter was closed, but instead they decided to heap blame on Diomande, and that’s wrong. In that respect, standing up for Diomande is entirely logical, and good for LAFC for not backing down.

It’s still a sad and ultimately unsatisfactory ending to the whole incident, and I can only imagine what Diomande feels about it all. But let’s hope the Timbers come to their senses and tone down the ridiculous rhetoric about Diomande’s accusation. It’s literally the least they could do.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!