FC Cincinnati coach Ron Jans has resigned as investigations continue into racial slurs he allegedly made.
The club, which confirmed his departure in a statement Tuesday, had previously told ESPN that Jans “stepped away” from coaching duties while the investigation was ongoing.
“As Major League Soccer’s investigation unfolded and some themes emerged, Ron offered his resignation and we agreed that it was the best course of action for everyone involved with FC Cincinnati,” club president Jeff Berding said.
“We place the utmost importance on a strong culture within our club, beginning in our locker room, and that every person connected with FC Cincinnati feels valued, respected and trusted. Racial and cultural diversity is a major part of what makes the game of soccer so special, and we place the highest priority on respecting every person involved in our game. This includes absolutely everyone associated with our club, from our locker room and front office, all the way through to our fans.”
ESPN’s Taylor Twellman tweeted on Friday that Jans told Berding that the incident involved the coach singing a song in the locker room that contained the N-word.
An ESPN source then confirmed a Cincinnati Enquirer report that the complaint included a reference to remarks Jans made about slavery after the team visited Washington memorials in advance of an Oct. 6 game against D.C. United.
“The Players Association was very recently made aware of extremely inappropriate comments made by FC Cincinnati coach Ron Jans,” the MLSPA said in a statement at the time.
“We have made a report to the appropriate league officials and expect an immediate and thorough league investigation to be conducted.”
FC Cincinnati are due to start the regular season on March 1. The club confirmed that Yoann Damet would serve as the club’s interim coach until a new appointment can be made.
The team issued the following statement when the allegations were revealed:
“FC Cincinnati was founded and operates with three core values: (1) being inclusive and family-friendly, (2) having a strong and visible presence in the community, and (3) winning on the field.
“When club leadership was made aware of the allegation, we were very surprised as building a caring and committed culture has been a focus of Ron’s leadership. We want to fully understand the nature of the incident and allow for an environment for our players to speak freely to any locker room issues. Therefore, while both the Club and Major League Soccer work together, Ron will step away from the team during the investigation.”
Jans took up the role last August but didn’t experience much success, with the team finishing bottom of the Eastern Conference in 2019.