The USL Championship announced Friday they have fined and issued a six-game suspension to LA Galaxy II defender Omar Ontiveros, after the player admitted to saying a racial slur at an opposing player during Wednesday’s 1-1 draw against San Diego Loyal.
According to the league’s statement on the matter: “Ontiveros addressed a racial slur toward an African-American SD Loyal player in the 71st minute of the game. None of the facts in the subsequent investigation of the incident by the USL Championship were disputed by any of the involved parties.”
San Diego released a statement following the announcement that they plan to formally forfeit the game in protest, to escalate the matter beyond the suspension of Ontiveros.
“We don’t even want to recognize being a part of a match where these types of actions take place.”— San Diego Loyal (@SanDiegoLoyal) September 25, 2020
Our full statement below regarding the racial slur that was directed at our player in the Sept. 23rd match.#SDLoyal | #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/bwIr50ToFy
Ontiveros was subsequently sent off at the end of the game, and has to serve an additional game ban for that red card, taking his total suspension to seven games.
The 25-year-old joined Los Dos in 2019, a player head coach Junior Gonzalez was familiar with at Rio Grande Valley FC, where Ontiveros began play in 2017. While a player of any age should know better than to use a racial slur at an opponent, it is not to Ontiveros’ credit that he’s one of the elder statesmen on Galaxy II and he behaved this way.
With Los Dos set to play three more regular-season games and perhaps the playoffs beyond that if they qualify, Ontiveros is unlikely to play again for the club this year. Will he play again for the club ever? Given the precedent the Galaxy set earlier this year, when first-team player Aleksandar Katai’s contract was cancelled after his wife made racist social media posts, it seems backtracking and allowing Ontiveros to merely serve his suspension and then continue play after it’s over would not be prudent.
But we’ll have to see. Certainly this is disappointing and reprehensible behavior. Time will tell if the club will also punish the player for his unacceptable conduct.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.