Former Southampton midfielder Richard Chaplow has been fined and suspended by United Soccer League for two games after verbally abusing former Leeds United player and US international Robbie Rogers.
Rogers, who is openly gay, took to Facebook to post about the alleged homophobic abuse he encountered from Chaplow.
Chaplow was playing for his new side Orange Country Blues, who he joined just weeks ago, against Rogers' LA Galaxy II.
In light of recent events. pic.twitter.com/JzLQTjDHIr— Richard chaplow (@Rchap04) August 25, 2016
Chaplow offered a riposte to how Rogers felt everything unfolded. While he admits using profane language in a minor argument between the opposing players, the Englishman vehemently denies using homophobic language.
In his response, Chaplow said: "I have a family member that is part of the LGBT community. I fully understand the weight and pressures it brings. I am being wrongfully linked to homophobic slurs and this is not a reflection of my beliefs and character.
"I would like to sincerely apologise to anyone who was offended by the profane language I used on the pitch in response to what I felt was an overreaction to a tackle. This was obviously not the correct way to represent myself or the club."
While USL president Jake Edwards vowed to punish Chaplow for the allegations made against him, Orange County believe there is "no compelling evidence" to back up Rogers' claims despite having pursued a vigorous investigation on the matter.
Homophobia remains rife in football and will continue to be deplorable. However, as Chaplow states, his discipline during his English playing career was impeccable. Despite the two-game ban, it might be wise to live by the mantra of "innocent until proven guilty" before casting negative assertions against Chaplow for certain.