GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) – A player on the Lansing Ignite, the team defeated by the Greenville Triumph in their home opener, was suspended following the game, according to The Detroit News.
The newspaper reports Ricky Lopez-Espin was suspended for four games and also fined for comments he made during the Saturday game.
Lopez-Espin issued an apology on Twitter:
“I want to truly apologize for my actions in Greenville, specifically to those in the LGBTQ community. That is not who I am & what I stand for. There is no excuse for the language I used, and I have accepted the four-match ban and fine for my actions.”
I want to truly apologize for my actions in Greenville, specifically to those in the LGBTQ community. That is not who I am & what I stand for. There is no excuse for the language I used, and I have accepted the four-match ban and fine for my actions. https://t.co/mUecRc3P6v— Ricky Lopez-Espin (@rickylopezespin) April 8, 2019
Below is the Landing Ignite's official club statement:
The Assembly Line, a fan group for the Ignite, has pledged $100 for each goal Ignite makes during the next two games to Upstate Pride. According to Upstate Pride, the group was selected by the Triumph’s fan group, The Reedy River Riot.
🚨 OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT 🚨During our club's upcoming Inaugural Week Celebration, The Assembly Line will be pledging a monetary donation to @UpstatePride for every goal that our club scores in our upcoming two home matches.Please see our official statement for further details pic.twitter.com/47wQPvDsLz— The Assembly Line (@AssemblyLineSG) April 9, 2019
Upstate Pride posted its thanks on Facebook Tuesday:
Below is the full statement from Upstate Pride.
"We have heard about what happened during this past weekend's game between Greenville Triumph SC and Lansing Ignite. For those who don't know, a member of the Ignite made some upsetting, homophobic slurs during the game, and has since apologized to our community and accepted a multi-game suspension and fine for his actions. We're glad he has made his apology and accepted his punishment, and hope this is a learning opportunity for Ricky.
We're glad to see our new friends at The Assembly Line wanting to show solidarity with not only Upstate Pride, but with YOU all, our beautiful LGBTQ family. We hope Ignite and Ricky join in on this to show growth and goodwill, to learn from this, and to continue making positive changes that empower ALL of us! We will be connecting with The Assembly Line for this too, so stay tuned!
Finally, we want to say thank you to Reedy River Riot for recommending us during last night's exchange on Twitter, and for thinking not just of us as an organization, but for all of us in the Upstate who are in the LGBTQ community. The fact that our community was thought of first by a fanbase for an AMAZING new soccer team is encouraging, and we look forward to working together more with Triumph, Reedy River Riot, and more sports teams here in the Upstate to show we ALL have a place under the lights, cheering our teams on TOGETHER! We also hope this opens up more doors for LGBTQ inclusion in sports organizations across the Upstate and we’re happy to see our corner of the world growing in this manner!"
Lopez-Espin scored the Ignite’s only goal in the 2-1 loss against the Greenville Triumph.
The Greenville Triumph said the matter was handled by Landing and the league and declined any further comment.