On Tuesday, July 23, the acclaimed HBO TV program Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel ran a 10-minute report that investigated claims of racial discrimination at Chivas USA. If you missed the show, watch it below in its entirety.
During the show, reporter Soledad O’Brien explored the swirling controversy surrounding the struggling MLS club. She interviewed former Chivas USA Academy coaches Dan Calichman and Teddy Chronopoulos who both recently filed a lawsuit against the club alleging racial discrimination. Calichman, a former LA Galaxy footballer, was replaced at Chivas USA by FOX Soccer commentator and analyst Keith Costigan who, unlike Calichman, speaks Spanish as a second language.
The report claims that several former and current club players were discriminated against because they were not Mexican or Mexican-American descent. That included the story of an African-American youth player who was allegedly told by Chivas USA officials that he should play for the LA Galaxy youth team if he didn’t speak Spanish.
In a press release that was posted on the Chivas USA website in response to the negative criticism, the statement read:
“We absolutely reject any form of discrimination and racism,” and added “We are disappointed by the intent of some individuals who have chosen to use our diversity to define our club as a racist and discriminatory environment by reporting an incomplete and one-sided story in order to damage the image of Chivas USA and the hard working individuals who are part of our community.”
Chivas USA declined HBO’s request to interview Chivas USA owner Jorge Vergara.
MLS also declined HBO’s request for an interview.
Chivas USA currently sits in last place in the Western Conference of Major League Soccer. The club also sits in last place with the worst average attendance in the league this season with 8,780 per game.
What are your opinions about HBO’s report? Share your insight in the comments section below.