USL club Tulsa Roughnecks have announced they terminated the contract of midfielder Fabian Bastidas after it was learned he racially abused an opposing player during a match against Oklahoma City Energy on Saturday.
After the 1-1 draw, current Oklahoma City player and former MLS defender Atiba Harris posted on social media that he was racially abused by an unnamed player during the match. When that player was identified as Bastidas, the club terminated his contract effective immediately.
“The Tulsa Roughnecks announced today the termination of Fabian Bastidas’ contract with the club following his use of foul and abusive language during last night’s match with OKC Energy FC,” the club said in a statement announcing the termination. “The player’s actions are a violation of the league’s zero-tolerance policy, and do not represent the beliefs and values of our club — nor the community we represent. As an organization, we sincerely apologize to Atiba Harris and OKC Energy FC, and will do what is necessary to prevent this type of behavior in the future.”
“What [Bastidas] said is a disgrace,” said Oklahoma City manager Steve Cooke. “In any other walk of life it’s wrong. In our walk of live, albeit on a soccer field, I think people at times can hide behind the veil of competition and say, ‘Well, I just lost my emotion.’ But that’s too easy. In our industry, our profession, we have to be better.”
Bastidas, a 25-year-old Brooklyn native who joined Tulsa in January, took to Instagram to defend his actions, attempting to explain that “nothing malicious or racist was or will ever be intended” by his words.