By Anne Sesler
Construction subcontractors at the FC Cincinnati soccer stadium worksite in the West End were removed from the site last week for involvement in racist incidents, said David M. Spaulding, Vice President and General Manager of Turner Construction, the general contractor.
“Turner has zero tolerance for racism and hate. We removed the people responsible for these actions from the site, and they will not be allowed back.” Spaulding said. “In addition, we suspended work to send a message about how serious we take this behavior and to provide time for every single person on the site to participate in anti-bias training. Work will resume when training is complete.”
“We will continue to collaborate with our client, trade partners, and unions to make clear to every person on site how important it is to have a work environment free of racism and hate and where all people feel welcomed and treated with respect.”
In a statement, FC Cincinnati, said the club will not tolerate racism on the stadium job site or any part of the FC Cincinnati organization.
“We all must be vigilant in working to address systemic racism that unfortunately exists within our country and local community. We are proud of the tremendous work of inclusion in our stadium construction and by our FC Cincinnati Foundation’s support for programs that tackle racial disparities in our community.”
To date, economic inclusion for West End Stadium construction has exceeded team/community goals for spending on Minority Business Enterprises, Women Business Enterprises and Small Business Enterprises.
FC Cincinnati announced investors have committed more than $250,000 to the FC Cincinnati Foundation to be granted to local community organizations that work to address racial disparities and discrimination.
This effort, which includes support from Carl H. Lindner III, Meg Whitman, Scott Farmer, George Joseph and other club partners, will provide funding for local organizations working to support our Black community in business/entrepreneurship, education, health care, jobs/job training and justice.
This commitment to positively impact the Cincinnati community has been an ongoing discussion with FC Cincinnati staff and players alike to provide input.
“Since our initial club statement opposing racism, we have been talking with and listening to our partners, players and staff about a stronger response that includes a plan of action,” FC Cincinnati President Jeff Berding said. “We have the utmost appreciation and respect for every player, team staff member and front office employee and we are committed to continue showing that respect through action. Our partners have committed over $250,000 for our FC Cincinnati Foundation to support programs that tackle racial disparities in our community.
In addition to the $250,000 donation, The FC Cincinnati Foundation will continue its commitment to the West End with an additional $100,000 in grants provided to organizations in support of community building initiatives. The FC Cincinnati Foundation continues to work alongside partners to improve the lives of children through the pandemic.
Berding also noted, “It has been recently brought to my attention that some of our players have endured personal and racial attacks on social media. I am outraged by the vile sentiments directed to them. I have spoken numerous times with our players, staff and supporters about the culture of inclusion we are building at FC Cincinnati, and there is no place for racially offensive words or actions in our club.
“Appropriate action will be taken to ensure those with such sentiments are prohibited in our club.”