Orange County Blues FC midfielder Richard Chaplow
has been suspended and fined by the USL for directing abusive and offensive language toward another player in
a league match last weekend.
After the game against Galaxy II, defender Robbie Rogers posted on his Facebook page
that an opposing player had taunted him with anti-gay slurs. In
its announcement released on Wednesday, the USL made no mention of specific incidents regarding Chaplow, who has been suspended two games and fined an undisclosed amount.
Disciplinary Committee used video review as well as discussions with match referee Tim Ford
as well as players and staff members from both teams to reach its decision. Chaplow scored the first
goal in a 2-0 Blues’ victory played at Anteater Stadium on the campus of UC Irvine. In its statement, USL did not make reference to the game report submitted by Ford and the other match
“The USL has zero tolerance for this type of behavior,” said league president Jake Edwards
in a league press release. “We cannot, nor will we, condone
any language that is counter to the values we have instilled throughout the USL.”
Rogers, 29, signed with the Galaxy in May 2013, after the team acquired his MLS rights in a trade
with Chicago. Leeds United had released Rogers in January of that year, and a month later he came out as gay and announced his retirement. After a change of heart, he began training with the Galaxy
and a trade was arranged with the Fire, which had obtained Rogers' rights in a deal with Columbus.
The Chaplow suspension stems from the only known anti-gay incident involving Rogers
since his public disclosure.
Chaplow told the Daily
he was banned for swearing at Rogers late in the game, not making homophobic slurs.
"I swore several times at Rogers for overreacting to a foul," Chaplow said, "but at no
time was the language homophobic and no evidence has been found of this, hence the way the statement has been wrote."
The Englishman added that he has a close family member that is openly
part of LGBT community, "so to suggest I'm homophobic is ridiculous and there is no evidence to support this."
The OC Blues issued a
"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."