The Pittsburgh Riverhounds have terminated the contract of forward Romeo Parkes in the wake of the Jamaican international's kick to the back of New York Red Bulls center back Karl Ouimette in Saturday night's USL match between the Riverhounds and Red Bulls II.
In addition, USL announced on Monday that Parkes will be suspended the remainder of the 2016 season from the league and fined an undisclosed amount for his actions.
Ouimette was stretchered off the field, but not seriously injured, after the incident, which occurred in the final five minutes of Red Bulls II's 3-1 win in Pittsburgh after both Ouimette and Parkes were sent off. Ouimette was walking off the field when Parkes kicked him in the back.
Romeo Parkes' contract has been terminated -> https://t.co/Ls4EPruRkr— PghRiverhounds (@PghRiverhounds) May 8, 2016
“I want to apologize to the fans and the Red Bulls II organization, as well as Karl Ouimette, for what transpired at the game last night,” Riverhounds owner Tuffy Shallenberger said in a club statement released Sunday. “Romeo’s actions are not representative of what our organization and its Academy stands for in regards to helping promote and grow this sport in not only the Greater Allegheny area, but also nationwide.
“We understand the severity of this situation and made it a point to respond as quickly as possible within our power.”
Parkes had already been suspended by the USL on Saturday night, when the league's president, Jake Edwards, issued the following statement:
"We have completed our initial review of the incident and have suspended Romeo Parkes of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds immediately for his actions against Karl Ouimette of the NY Red Bulls II. The USL will immediately begin a full investigation and interview all parties involved which could result in additional disciplinary actions. Any type of behavior that is detrimental to the safety and well-being of our players will not be tolerated. We have spoken with both teams and they understand the seriousness of the situation. Fair play is paramount in the game of soccer and in the USL."
Edwards issued another statement upon news of the league's suspension on Monday.
"There is no place in our game for this type of unprofessional conduct and our decision reinforces the USL's commitment to preserving the integrity and reputation of the game. Player safety is paramount and any type of behavior that is detrimental to the well-being of our players will not be tolerated."
That was followed by this statement from the Riverhounds: "The Pittsburgh Riverhounds organization does not condone the type of behavior that transpired on the field tonight and we want to apologize to the New York Red Bulls II and our fans for what happened. We have already communicated with the USL that we will fully cooperate with the League's investigation and will support whatever disciplinary actions they may take. We are happy to see Karl Ouimette has returned to the team and is making the trip back to Harrison, New Jersey."
A Canadian international defender, Ouimette was loaned to Red Bulls II for Saturday's match on the heels of the senior team's acquisition of veteran Aurelien Collin, who made his Red Bulls debut at center back on Friday night in Orlando. Ouimette had started six of RBNY's first 10 MLS matches of the season before joining Red Bulls II for his first USL start on Saturday.
Parkes, who is on Jamaica's 40-man preliminary roster for the 2016 Copa America Centenario, issued an apology on Twitter (see tweets after the video below) shortly after the match.
“As I stated last night, this is an unfortunate situation and one that was embarrassing for not only myself, but also the staff and the organization,” Riverhounds head coach Mark Steffens said in Sunday's release. “The discipline being handed out is one that we, as a staff, consider to be fair and completely justified. The actions were not representative of what this team stands for as a whole.”
To the fans, my teams, the city of PGH, NY Red Bulls 2 and the USL, I recognized that my action was wrong and inappropriate.— Romeo Parkes (@ovando678) May 8, 2016
and I sincerely apologize and regret my actions. Despite the continous altercation throughout the game my further action after I was carded— Romeo Parkes (@ovando678) May 8, 2016
Was unwarrented and i ask for my fans, the league and my teammates as well as the New York Red Bulls to accept my sincere apology.— Romeo Parkes (@ovando678) May 8, 2016
@karlouimette ( karl) I’d like say to thank you for speaking w/me after the match.I’m genuinely happy you’re okay+have accepted my apology.— Romeo Parkes (@ovando678) May 8, 2016