The NASL has issued a statement on an alleged racist comment made during the August 28th match between FC Edmonton and Puerto Rico FC. With no conclusive evidence found, it appears there may be no further action on this instance.
Puerto Rico defender Chris Nurse, a Guyanese international, alleged that the comment was made to him by Nico Di Biase, an Argentine midfielder with the Eddies who had just joined the club from abroad a few weeks prior. The comment led to a situation at the final whistle forcing Nurse’s teammate and coach to walk him off the pitch.
The league offered the following statement today.
“Following a claim that a racist comment was made by one player to another player in a match between Puerto Rico FC and FC Edmonton on August 28, the NASL immediately opened a formal investigation, at the request of Puerto Rico FC, that included one-on-one interviews with players from both clubs, as well as the center referee.”
“While the NASL in no way questions the validity of the claim, upon finishing its in-depth investigation, the league was not able to find conclusive evidence to corroborate the claim. Although the investigation proved to be inconclusive, the NASL approaches issues of racism, homophobia, and other forms of prejudice with the utmost sensitivity, and in no way tolerates discriminatory behavior of any kind.”
The statement will certainly leave supporters of PRFC unhappy as they have been very vocal about waiting on a response and action from the league.
The two clubs will not play each other again until 2017.
EDIT: Chris Nurse has commented on the NASL statement.
“Hopefully something positive can come out of this, there needs to be a review on how these cases are handled,” Nurse said in a message posted on the11.ca. “There needs to be clear education for all on what is acceptable language and what is unacceptable. There needs to be a protocol for referees when instances like these are bought to their attention both during and after games. And, lastly, we need to stop hiding from racism and pretending it does not exist. If we want to eradicate it, then brushing it under the carpet or just moving on does not have that effect.
“What’s happens next time a situation like this arises is the question. Will the failure of reprimand, players are more likely to take matters into their own hands.”