By Michael Lewis
Calling it a “shameful incident,” the Cosmos are working with The Five Points supporters clubs to identify the fan who was involved in an incident of racial abuse late in the team’s season finale Saturday.
The Cosmos and FC Baltimore Christos played to a 2-2 draw in the NISA Independent Cup at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, N.Y.
The game, a make-up match from the Independent Cup that was postponed by severe weather in Leesburg, Va. in August, was played on the Cosmos’ training field adjacent to the stadium.
The National Independent Soccer Association team was quite upset about the incident, saying that “no person who acts in such a matter is ever welcome at our club.”
The comments were directed at Christos midfielder Khalid Balogun throughout the match, the visitors claimed. Balogun was red carded for an on=the-field incident during second-half stoppage time.
On Twitter, Christos head coach Lawrence Sancomb addressed the incident with a stern comment.
“This truly saddens me. I can’t tell you how much I love and respect this young man,” he wrote. “In yesterday’s game vs the New York Cosmos the fans made racist comments throughout the game. The Ref finally addressed it with 3 min left.NISA needs to address this garbage.”
This truly saddens me. I can’t tell you how much I love and respect this young man. In yesterday’s game vs the New York Cosmos the fans made racist comments throughout the game. The Ref finally addressed it with 3 min left.NISA needs to address this garbage. pic.twitter.com/9f0Yxxa6Ah
— Lawrence Sancomb (@SancombLawrence) October 11, 2020
Balogun wrote on Twitter “the fact that racial abuse doesn’t even phase me anymore is a shame smh.”
Here is the Cosmos’ complete statement that it issued Sunday afternoon:
“Late in yesterday’s match, the club was made aware of an incident of racial abuse by levied by one of our fans against a member of FC Baltimore Christos. Since, the club has been working with the leaders of The 5 Points to identify the individual and take proper actions following this shameful incident.
“Racism has no place in our sport or out club. We pride ourselves on being an inclusive and welcoming organization, and no person who acts in such a matter is ever welcome at our club.”
Admitting it was “embarrassed” by the incident, The 5 Points leaders distanced the group light years from the incident.
“This is categorically condemned by our entire collective of groups and this person will be removed from our section immediately,” the organization said on Twitter Sunday.
“Despite being said by one person, and in a small group of attendees, we as a collective take full responsibility and will communicate with @NYCosmos and about how we will permanently work to eradicate this behavior. We are embarrassed by this.”
On June 1, The 5 Points posted this tweet on Twitter:
Cosmos fans stand against white supremacy, police brutality, and the systems that allow police to kill Black people in this country with impunity.
In the stands and in the streets, we’re with you. pic.twitter.com/I46XiKBTND
— 5 Points (@5_Points_NYC) June 1, 2020