TORONTO — The CFL released the following statement on Wednesday:
“The CFL is aware of violence against a LGBTQ2S+ community member, and the allegation that has been made against Chris Larsen, an Ottawa REDBLACKS player. The REDBLACKS, who have a strong track record of opposing violence and advocating for inclusion, have said they are suspending Larsen pending further information as a result of the investigation. We too take this allegation very seriously and look forward to the outcome. In the meantime, we want to reaffirm our values: We condemn homophobia, violence and hate. We support inclusivity and diversity. We are partners with You Can Play, the non profit organization committed to advancing inclusion in sport, which has conducted training for our football operations and our office staff in recent years. More needs to be done and we will continue to stand with the LGBTQ2S+ community.”
Earlier Wednesday evening, the REDBLACKS released the following statement and announcement of Larsen’s suspension:
The Ottawa REDBLACKS announced today that they have suspended defensive lineman Chris Larsen.
“Late last night, we were made aware of social media allegations of an assault by a group of individuals that included Chris Larsen and immediately commenced an investigation which is ongoing. Today we were advised that an investigation by the Toronto Police is underway,” said Mark Goudie, CEO of the REDBLACKS’ parent company, Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG).
“I don’t pretend to know all of the specifics of this incident, but let me say this, the REDBLACKS and OSEG are proud of the role that we play in our community and we are committed to continuing to build an organization, both on and off the field, that reflects the values of our community. Diversity and inclusion are central to our organizational values and we will try our best to use our platform to help make acts of hate and violence, including homophobia, stop. We recognize there are larger systemic issues that plague our society, and as an organization, we know that we can play a role in making our community a more tolerant, respectful, educated and inclusive place.”
“We are particularly sorry for the trauma caused to the 2SLGBTQ+ community.”
Larsen was drafted in the 2019 CFL draft but had not appeared in a game with the REDBLACKS.
OSEG will have no further comments on this matter while the Toronto Police investigation is ongoing.
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