ST. PETERSBURG — The Rowdies on Wednesday amended the statement they released in response to midfielder Laurence Wyke’s 12-game suspension, making changes after consulting with the club’s internal Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council.
The USL Championship on Monday suspended Wyke and issued an undisclosed fine, saying he “violated the league’s zero-tolerance policy related to any form of harassment or discrimination on or off the field.” The league said it investigated “allegations of racially discriminatory behavior” after the Rowdies played at Monterey Bay FC in California on Oct. 2.
The Rowdies amended the statement they released Monday in response to the suspension “to better reflect our intentions,” they said Wednesday. They specifically apologized for using the phrase “benefit of the doubt” in this original-statement sentence: “We are all at our best when we give our competition the benefit of the doubt, when we trust in their intentions, and provide ample space for forgiveness and understanding.”
They said Wednesday in explaining the new statement that they “acknowledge that the Monterey Bay FC players experienced real pain regardless of intent. There is always an opportunity to learn from each other, and we believe that when we know better, we all do better. We are sorry.”
In the revised statement, the Rowdies said they and Wyke “are deeply sorry” that his gestures mimicking the goal he scored on a header against Monterey Bay came across as racially insensitive but that Wyke had no racist intent.
They said they stand behind Wyke and maintain that the USL Championship “conducted a failed process” in its investigation and “rushed to a conclusion and issued a statement without providing us the full report.” The club is appealing Wyke’s suspension.
Wyke wasn’t in the lineup for Wednesday night’s match against El Paso Locomotive FC at Al Lang Stadium.
Contact Andrew Crane at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @CraneAndrew.