Tulsa Roughnecks Fire Player After Use Of Racial Slurs
The Tulsa Roughnecks confirm they have fired a player after this weekend's game against Oklahoma City's Energy FC.
An OKC player posted to Twitter after Saturday night's game saying a Roughnecks player called him the N-word not once but twice on the field.
Atiba Harris says he told the referee, but the game continued.
The Roughnecks identified the player who made the racial slurs as midfielder Fabian Bastidas.
In statement, Rougnecks president Barry Williams said in part Bastidas' "actions are a violation of the league's zero-tolerance policy, and do not represent the beliefs and values of our club."
Energy FC Co-Owner Bob Funk says his club is standing solidly with Harris.
"This unfortunate event presents an opportunity for the United Soccer League to make it clearly and cogently known that we will never accept one iota of hate speech among our owners and players," says Funk.
The Roughnecks president said the organization sincerely apologizes to Harris and OKC Energy FC. He says they will do what is necessary to prevent this type of behavior in the future.
Bastidas posted the following on his Facebook page:
See top of the screen. #staypositive
For those of you who might have read a statement released by the USL and Roughnecks today regading my termination, I figured I owed it to myself and the ones I care about to explain why.
Last night we played a game against our rival team, Oklahoma City Energy. I used terminology that I have used my entire life growing up in Brooklyn, a pronoun that I say to my friends, teammates, and the people I care about: “Expletive Deleted."
In South America, New York, Portugal, and everywhere else I’ve lived, we say it with love. Nothing malicious or racist was or will ever be intended by it.
The game ended with us walking off the field hugging. I thought we both entered our locker rooms with positive minds and great energy after such an intense game.
I am in shock to find that within less than 24 hours I have been terminated and sent on my way. I stand by the USL’s zero tolerance policy for racist language, but I look forward to the day when context and intent will also be considered.