Here's what we know about CFL player Chris Larsen and the assault at Hanlan's Point
The Canadian Football League's Ottawa Redblacks have announced the immediate suspension of defensive lineman Chris Larsen pending a police investigation into the brutal assault of David Gomez, who says he was beaten within inches of his life while leaving Hanlan's Point beach in Toronto this weekend.
Toronto Police are currently investigating what happened to Gomez around 11:30 p.m. near the Hanlan's ferry dock on Saturday night as an aggravated assault.
The service's dedicated Hate Crime Unit is lending support, as the suspects reportedly shouted homophobic slurs at Gomez before breaking his nose, cheekbone, orbital bone and hip bone, leaving him unconscious and with a concussion.
While police have yet to name any suspects, Gomez and others on social media are alleging that the person who instigated the assault was Larsen. The 25-year-old athlete, originally from Toronto, has not been charged or implicated by police at this time.
This guy, Chris Larsen, needs to be investigated by @TorontoPolice @TPSOperations @CP24 @globalnewsto @JohnTory @CFL— B (@JustB_M) June 9, 2021
It’s pride month and if u attack on of us you attack all of us. pic.twitter.com/SACfaeSdgW
Both the CFL and Ottawa Redblacks have nonetheless released statements acknowledging the accusations against Larsen, as well as denouncing all forms of homophobic violence and hate.
"Late last night, we were made aware of social media allegations of an assault by a group of individuals that included Chris Larsen and immediately commenced an investigation which is ongoing," said Mark Goudie, CEO of the team's parent company, in a media release issued late Wednesday.
"I don't pretend to know all of the specifics of this incident, but let me say this: the Redblacks ... are proud of the role that we play in our community and we are committed to continuing to build an organization, both on and off the field, that reflects the values of our community."
"Diversity and inclusion are central to our organizational values and we will try our best to use our platform to help make acts of hate and violence, including homophobia, stop," the statement continues.
"We recognize there are larger systemic issues that plague our society, and as an organization, we know that we can play a role in making our community a more tolerant, respectful, educated and inclusive place."
Goudie says that no further statements will be made while Toronto Police investigate the case, but did state that "we are particularly sorry for the trauma caused to the 2SLGBTQ+ community."
Larsen, who was drafted into the CFL in 2019 but had not yet played any games with the Redblacks, had deactivated his own social media accounts as of Thursday morning.
Not soon enough, though, to stop sleuths from creeping back through his Facebook and Instagram profiles.
Ottawa @REDBLACKS professional football player Chris Larsen has a history of hate towards the LGBT community. See for yourself! #onpoli #Pride2021 #Ontario #ottnews @FierteCapPride https://t.co/OLSRETJMcW pic.twitter.com/LDrWQdJCA9— Rob Gill (@vote4robgill) June 9, 2021
Screenshots circulating online today show old posts on what appears to be Larsen's Facebook page reading "my soccer team is full of players who love gay anal," "I'm gaay [sic]," and "I love big dicks in my mouth," among other things, some of them racist.
Whether or not he does indeed love big dicks in his mouth is unclear, but if those are Larsen's old posts (all from 2011), it would suggest that he does or did have some sort of fixation with homosexuality.
Not a good look for someone accused of beating a man for being a member of the 2SLGBTQ+ community while leaving one of Toronto's most iconic queer spaces.
This horrible act of violence reminds us that homophobia is still with us and is toxic.— Jagmeet Singh (@theJagmeetSingh) June 9, 2021
No one should fear violence because of who they love. https://t.co/DQo20Z7wdE
As Larsen's name circulates, so do public condemnations of his alleged behaviour and pressure upon the CFL to nix him from the league.
"Hey @CFL, change your Twitter profile photo if you're gonna let one of your players beat up someone from our community," tweeted Canada's Drag Race winner Priyanka on Wednesday. "My heart breaks. The hate never ends."
Prove it! Fire Chris Larsen— The Edgy Veg | #Vegan (@edgyveg) June 10, 2021
According to an athletic profile at the University of Manitoba, where Larsen attended school and played football, the defensive lineman went to East York Collegiate Institute in Toronto for high school.
One CFL fan website is currently selling a New Era Ottawa Redblacks 76 Chris Larsen jersey for $109.99 — marked down from its original price of $169.99.
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