Ottawa Redblacks suspend player as Toronto police investigate alleged homophobic attack

The Ottawa Redblacks suspended defensive lineman Chris Larsen after being advised of an investigation by Toronto police.

"Late last night, we were made aware of social media allegations of an assault by a group of individuals that included Chris Larsen and immediately commenced an investigation which is ongoing," said Mark Goudie, CEO of the Redblacks parent company, Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group.

"Today we were advised that an investigation by the Toronto police is underway."

"I don’t pretend to know all of the specifics of this incident, but let me say this, the Redblacks and OSEG are proud of the role that we play in our community and we are committed to continuing to build an organization, both on and off the field, that reflects the values of our community," said Goudie.

OSEG and the Redblacks said they would have no further comment on the matter while the Toronto police investigation is ongoing.

The Ottawa REDBLACKS announced today that they have suspended defensive lineman Chris Larsen.

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— Ottawa REDBLACKS (@REDBLACKS) June 10, 2021

"We are particularly sorry for the trauma caused to the 2SLGBTQ+ community," said Goudie.

Toronto police said Wednesday it was investigating a homophobic attack at the Toronto Island over the weekend.

In a Facebook post, a Toronto man says he was called homophobic slurs and then knocked unconscious and beaten, left with a broken nose, multiple lacerations across his body and a fractured right hip following an altercation. Friends say he's had surgery. 

The incident happening during Pride month. 

"It's very disheartening that 2SLGBTQ2+ members of our community are feeling unsafe because of hate crime," said Sherwin Modeste, the executive director of Pride Toronto. 

Toronto police have put out descriptions of the suspects and say they won't speculate on those allegedly involved. 

"At this point in time it's still too early for me to speculate on any specific individual, having said that though we are aware of these allegations," said Const. Alex Li. "Our investigators will reach out to anyone that might have had any involvement with this case, as well as we're appealing for any witnesses."  

"We need Pride month not just to celebrate the gains that we have made but also to bring awareness of the continuous troubles, the continued discrimination, homophobia, transphobia and biphobia that continues to happen in our communities," said Modeste. 

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the victim.  

Anyone who witnessed the assault or has video of the incident is asked to forward it to Det.-Const. Lauren Hassard at 52 Division by emailing Lauren.Hassard@torontopolice.on.ca

Anyone else with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-5200 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477). 

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— CFL (@CFL) June 10, 2021