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DC United fires trainer for discriminatory gesture; 2 players placed on leave

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WASHINGTON (AP) — D.C. United fired head athletic trainer Reade Whitney on Friday night after the team said he made a discriminatory hand gesture in a photo that was posted on social media a day earlier.

The team and Major League Soccer also said late Friday that two players, Taxi Fountas and Nigel Robertha, have been placed on paid administrative leave while MLS investigates possible violations of league policy. There was no indication whether the investigation had anything to do with the circumstances of Whitney's dismissal.

The team did not name Whitney in its statement announcing his dismissal but said its athletic trainer had been fired effective immediately. Whitney held that position.

"There is no place for racism, homophobia, misogyny, or discrimination of any kind in our sport and world and D.C. United do not tolerate any acts of this nature," the statement said.

Separately, D.C. United informed the league about the two players' possible violation of league policy, and MLS began an investigation. The players will be away from the team during that review.

"Placement on paid administrative leave is not a disciplinary measure," the MLS statement said.

Last year, the league investigated an allegation that Fountas used racially abusive language toward Miami defender Aimé Mabika during a match. The league said it found the allegation credible but could not find corroborating evidence, and Fountas was not disciplined.

(© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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