FC Cincinnati coach Ron Jans has stepped away from the club after allegedly using a racial slur, according to a report Friday by the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Pat Brennan and Sharon Coolidge.
Jans is accused of using the slur in a complaint from the MLS Players Association to MLS. FC Cincinnati found out about the complaint on Thursday, according to the Enquirer. Jans told club president Jeff Berding he said the word while singing to music played in the locker room, according to the Enquirer.
In a separate incident, the complaint alleges Jans made inappropriate remarks about slavery while the team was touring national memorials in Washington before last year’s game at DC United on Oct. 6, according to the Enquirer.
“I have a lot of hip hop songs in my playlist,” Jans told Dutch media outlet Algemeen Dagblad. “But I didn’t know the song that was being played in the dressing room. I don’t feel guilty. Because I am not a racist. What I have done is somewhat awkward in America. But between a clumsy action and what is happening now — that is incomprehensible. I think it’s really a shame, because I’m really enjoying myself in America. This whole situation just feels so strange. ”
Jans told Dutch media outlet Nederlandse Omroep Stichting, “I never spoke to anyone directly that way.”
FC Cincinnati and MLS are investigating the allegations, according to an MLS statement, and Jans has stepped away from his coaching duties while the investigation is ongoing. Assistant coaches Yoann Damet and Ivar van Dinteren will head the club, according to the Enquirer.
The investigation’s outcome is expected on Sunday, according to Algemeen Dagblad.
“When club leadership was made aware of the allegation, we were very surprised as building a caring and committed culture has been a focus of Ron’s leadership,” FC Cincinnati said Friday in a media statement. “We want to fully understand the nature of the incident and allow for an environment for our players to speak freely to any locker room issues. Therefore, while both the club and Major League Soccer work together, Ron will step away from the team during the investigation.
“While the investigation is undertaken, the club is also committed to ensuring every member of the club has a deeper appreciation and awareness for differences in cultures and backgrounds and will institute training for every member of the organization.”
Jans told Algemeen Dagblad, “Really, I hate slavery, discrimination and racism. If I can help fight that in society, then I really like to participate. I have visited the Apartheid Museum, watched and read many films and books on this subject.”
It will mark the second time in less than a year that Damet will take over coaching responsibilities on a temporary basis. He was named interim coach after Alan Koch was fired last May.
The complaint comes as Jans was wrapping up his first preseason with the club. FC Cincinnati plays Nashville SC in a preseason friendly Sunday and has split-squad scrimmages with Sarasota Metropolis FC and KR Reykjavik on Feb. 21 the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The season opener at the New York Red Bulls is March 1, just 16 days away.