The United Soccer League announced on Wednesday that it has suspended Orange County Blues FC midfielder Richard Chaplow for two games and fined him an undisclosed amount for what the league called “offensive and abusive language” presumably directed at Robbie Rogers during the club’s game against LA Galaxy II last Saturday.
Rogers, a Galaxy first-team defender making an appearance with Galaxy II as he works back from injury, is openly gay. He posted to Facebook on Sunday that a Blues player repeatedly directed a homophobic slur at him during the closing minutes of Saturday’s match.
Rogers, who came out in February 2013, wrote that this was the first time a player has directed a homophobic slur at him since he returned from a short playing hiatus that year.
The USL and MLS launched an investigation into the matter, with the USL’s Disciplinary Committee eventually punishing Chaplow after reviewing video and speaking with the referee, players and staff from both teams.
“The USL has zero tolerance for this type of behavior,” said USL president Jake Edwards, in a statement. “We cannot, nor will we, condone any language that is counter to the values we have instilled throughout the USL.”
The 31-year-old Chaplow, a former England youth international, is in his first season with the Blues after playing with a number of clubs in England. He and Rogers overlapped in the Championship for a few months in 2012 – Rogers with Leeds United; Chaplow with Southampton.
Update (8:00 pm ET)
Chaplow has denied to The Telegraph that he directed any homophobic language at Rogers, while the OC Blues also put out a statement on the suspension:
Official Club Statement: pic.twitter.com/GNN4Yt3Afs— OC Blues FC (@OCBluesFC) August 24, 2016