Soccer player suspended for fight sparked by racist insult

Mexico City, April 6 (IANS/EFE) Afro-Colombian forward Carlos Darwin Quintero has been suspended for six matches for his part in a fight he says was spurred by a racial epithet, the Mexican soccer federation said.

The fight erupted as Quintero was leaving the pitch after receiving a red card during his Santos Laguna club’s weekend match against Cruz Azul.

At that point, according to Quintero, Cruz Azul’s Rogelio Chavez, a Mexican national, called him a ‘shi–y ape’.

Mexico’s National Commission Against Discrimination, or Conapred, told EFE it started an investigation of Quintero’s accusation and that Chavez had been notified of the probe and given five days to submit a statement.

Because Santos Laguna did not immediately raise the matter of Chavez’s alleged insult, the referee’s report to the federation’s Disciplinary Committee dealt only with Quintero’s conduct.

Some of Quintero’s teammates have publicly demanded a probe to determine if he was provoked by Chavez.

Despite Quintero’s expulsion for a foul committed against Cruz Azul forward Christian Gimenez, Santos won the match 3-0. The Colombian was suspended for three matches due to the original red card and an additional three for the fight with Chavez.

As public figures, soccer players are expected to demonstrate good sportsmanship, said Conapred director Ricardo Bucio.

‘We hope this doesn’t get bigger, that there are measures on the part of the federation to improve the quality of the spectacle and avoid that (the insults) are translated into the stands and outside the stadiums,’ he said.

While Mexican law does not provide for sanctions in these cases, the soccer federation and individual clubs can certainly do something, Bucio said.