The United States Soccer League (USL) has suspended Orange County FC midfielder Richard Chaplow for two games for “offensive and abusive language” reportedly directed at LA Galaxy defender Robbie Rogers.
Rogers, an openly gay footballer, alleged in a Facebook post that a player from Orange County called him “queer” several times during their USL fixture on August 20.
Following an investigation, including a video review as well as talks with the referees, players and staff from both teams, Chaplow was found guilty of using obscene language, but the statement did not reflect if it was for homophobic comments.
Along with the two-game suspension, former Burnley, West Brom and Southampton midfielder Chaplow was fined an undisclosed amount.
“The USL has zero tolerance for this type of behaviour,” said Jake Edwards, President of the USL.
“We cannot, nor will we, condone any language that is counter to the values we have instilled throughout the USL.”
Chaplow later released a statement via his Twitter account, insisting he did not use any homophobic slurs.
“I would like to sincerely apologise to anyone that was offended by the profane language I used on the pitch in response to what I felt was an overreaction to a tackle,” the 31-year-old wrote.
“This was obviously not the correct way to represent or the club on the pitch.
“However, I would like to let the members of the media and the general public know that at no point during the game did I use any homophobic slurs.
“I have a family member that is part of the LGBT Community and I fully understand the weight and daily pressure that it brings.
“I am wrongfully being linked to homophobic slurs and this is not a reflection of my beliefs and character. During my thirteen years a professional soccer player my record has been exemplary.
“I would ask everyone to please read carefully the USL’s statement and avoid misinterpreting to what it does not say. The statement clearly does not say that I directed homophobic slurs towards another player.”