American cyclist Quinn Simmons was indefinitely interrupted in a Twitter conversation in a way that the team “felt was behaving inappropriately about a Trek athlete” and not for his apparent support for President Trump, said the Trek-Segafredo team on Thursday.
Simmons received the discipline after interacting on social media with Dutch journalist Jose Bean. Simmons responded to Bean’s tweet in which she said she hoped her American friends that “this horrible presidency is over for you,” adding, “If you follow me and support Trump, you can go.”
Simmons responded to Ban by saying “Anti” with a dark emoji skin. Her tweet was later deleted and it appeared that Trek-Segafredo had a problem with the icon, which apparently has racist statements.
He also had two other politically charged interactions.
The rider addressed the issue in a statement.
“As an American rider, I have always been proud to represent my country. “Driving for an American team was a lifelong dream,” he said. One big reason I chose this team was because of the American values behind it.
“To those who found the racist color of emoji, I can promise I did not want it to be interpreted that way,” Simmons continued. “I would like to apologize to all those who found this offensive as I am strongly against racism in any form.
“Anyone who disagrees with me politically is fine. “I will not hate you for that,” he added. I only ask for the same. “
Luca Guercilena, the team’s director, added that he hoped Simmons could “use this opportunity to grow as a person and make a positive contribution to a better cycling future”.
While Trek-Segafredo said in a second statement that Simmons had not been suspended for his political views, the group initially said Simmons had been suspended for “internet statements that we believe are divisive, inflammatory and harmful to the group.” professional cycling, fans and the positive future we hope to help create for the sport. “
In response to the suspension, Ban wrote that he felt “horrible” about it and that he would not want Simmons suspended.
Simmons was in his first season with Trek-Segafredo.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.