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San Diego Wave ban fan for life after investigation into racist incident

(Ray Acevedo/USA TODAY Sports)

The San Diego Wave have issued a lifetime ban to a fan that exhibited “threatening and physical behavior” during the team’s record-breaking stadium opener on Sept. 17, the NWSL expansion club said in a statement.

The team started an investigation last week after a report emerged that a Wave fan “directed a hateful slur and actions” toward two visiting Angel City fans.

While the Wave said witnesses could not corroborate “the use of offensive racial language” as part of the incident, witnesses did confirm threatening behavior by a San Diego fan.

“The fan was issued a warning by security during halftime; however, the behavior continued and escalated at the end of the match,” the club said in its statement.

The Wave fan “violated the Club Code of Conduct,” according to the statement. Under the code, behavior that is “illegal, disruptive, threatening or violent in nature” is prohibited.

“As a result, the club has issued a lifetime ban of Wave FC matches and community events to the individual involved,” the club wrote.

The Wave have not provided any more specifics on the incident, but one Angel City fan posted about his run-in with a Wave supporter during the match. The fan wrote on Twitter that he and his partner “were assaulted” by the Wave fan after the game.

The NWSL issued its own statement at the time the Wave announced their investigation. The league said it would review league policies and protocols “to ensure they reflect the positive, safe and inclusive environment” that is expected at league events.

“The hateful and racist conduct that has been reported from this past weekend’s match in San Diego has no place in soccer, sport or society,” the NWSL said in its statement. “Sunday’s match was a celebration for the progress our league has made, but this is a reminder that we must remain vigilant, especially in providing safe places for everyone associated with the NWSL to work, play and be entertained.”