Simmons: ‘I would like to apologize to everyone who found this offensive’
Trek-Segafredo has released a second statement addressing the suspension of Quinn Simmons and the 19-year-old American has addressed the matter publicly for the first time, one day after he made what his team called “statements online that we feel are divisive, incendiary, and detrimental to the team.”
On Wednesday, Simmons expressed his support for Donald Trump in a tweet that featured a dark-skinned hand-waving emoji. His team announced later in the afternoon that he had been suspended until further notice.
On Thursday, Trek-Segafredo said in a follow-up press release that “was not suspended because of his political views. He was suspended for engaging in conversation on Twitter in a way that we felt was conduct unbefitting a Trek athlete.”
The press release included the first public statements from Simmons himself on the matter.
“As an American rider, I have always been proud to represent my country. Riding for an American team has been a lifelong dream. A big reason I chose this team was because of the American values behind it,” Simmon said.
“To those who found the color of the emoji racist, I can promise that I did not mean for it to be interpreted that way. I would like to apologize to everyone who found this offensive as I strongly stand against racism in any form.
“To anyone who disagrees with me politically, that is fine. I won’t hate you for it. I only ask the same.”
Trek-Segafredo manager Luca Guercilena also addressed the situation for the second time.
“We hold all Trek staff and management to a high ethical standard and our athletes are no exception,” Guercilena said. “We believe that Quinn has a bright future as a professional athlete if he can use this opportunity to grow as a person and make a positive contribution for a better future for cycling. We remain committed to helping Quinn as much as we can.”