25-year-old Redblacks lineman allegedly took part in homophobic beating near the Hanlan’s Point ferry dock
The CFL and Ottawa Redblacks have now both weighed in on accusations that one of their players allegedly took part in a brutal beating that Toronto Police say was motivated by homophobia.
Chris Larsen — a 25 year old defensive lineman — is among three suspects wanted by police in connection with the Saturday night incident near the Hanlan’s Point ferry dock.
The Redblacks announced his suspension Wednesday night.
“We too take this allegation very seriously,” the league said in a statement.
“The CFL is aware of violence against a LGBTQ2S+ community member, and the allegation that has been made against Chris Larsen, an Ottawa REDBLACKS player.”
In announcing his suspension the team said “We are particularly sorry for the trauma caused to the 2SLGBTQ+ community.”
Police are investigating the beating of David Gomez, 24, as an aggravated assault and as a hate crime.
Gomez and a friend were walking to the ferry when they had an altercation with a group.
Along with Larsen, police are looking for two others, a man and a woman.
Gomez said he suffered serious injuries.
“I was knocked unconscious and beat nearly to death,” he wrote on social media.
“I was dragged around, kicked and punched in the face. I now have a broken nose with a shattered face.”
Reaction condemning this incident happening during Pride Month has come from Mayor John Tory, Pride Toronto, and the AIDS Committee of Toronto where Gomez once volunteered.
“It is heartbreaking to know that in 2021, our community still needs to protect ourselves from horrific violence,” the committee said.
“We know David Gomez as someone with a compassionate heart, who has worked tirelessly to protect our queer community.”
Larsen — listed on the CFL website as Redblacks 6-foot-3 and 250 lbs. — was drafted by the Redblacks in 2019 but has not appeared in a game.
An online fundraiser supporting Gomez’s recovery exceeded $41,000 as of Thursday afternoon.