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Trek-Segafredo on Wednesday suspended Quinn Simmons for his response on Twitter to a post regarding US president Donald Trump. Responding to a tweet from cycling journalist José Been that included the statement “If you follow me and support Trump, you can go,” Simmons replied with the word “Bye” and a hand-waving emoji with a Black skin tone. Simmons is white.
A backlash erupted on Twitter, with some calling for a boycott of the bike brand and co-title sponsor Trek.
Trek-Segafredo responded immediately on Twitter, saying that the team “does not condone comments or actions from its riders that add to divisive conversations.”
When pushed by Twitter users to address racism directly, Trek-Segafredo responded succinctly: “Racism is unacceptable. Period.”
Later in the day, the team released the following statement, saying that Simmons was suspended from racing “until further notice.”
“Trek-Segafredo is an organization that values inclusivity and supports a more diverse and equitable sport for all athletes. While we support the right to free speech, we will hold people accountable for their words and actions.
Regrettably, team rider Quinn Simmons made statements online that we feel are divisive, incendiary, and detrimental to the team, professional cycling, its fans, and the positive future we hope to help create for the sport.
In response, he will not be racing for Trek-Segafredo until further notice.
The team and its partners will work together to determine how we will move forward and keep fans and the public informed as to the decisions made in the matter.”
The American Simmons joined Trek-Segafredo this year after winning the 2019 junior road world championship.
Trek faced calls for a boycott earlier this year after American law enforcement officers used police bikes made and sold by Trek for crowd control at Black Lives Matter demonstrations.