Ottawa Redblacks release suspended Canadian DL Chris Larsen, five others

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com

The Ottawa Redblacks released six players, including recently suspended National defensive lineman Chris Larsen.

Also released were American receivers Jaelan Austin and Jovon Durante, defensive back Lashard Durr, and linebackers Ironhead Gallon and Nic Grigsby.

Larsen was selected in the sixth round, 54th overall in the 2019 CFL Draft out of the University of Manitoba, but has yet to play a game for the organization. He was suspended by the team on June 9th after uncorroborated allegations surfaced online that he had been involved in alleged hate crime against a member of Toronto’s Queer community.

Larsen’s lawyer, Calvin Barry, told media last week that his client was no longer considered a suspect in the attack. Charges have been filed against a pair of 24-year-old men, Elijah McGibbons and Felix Tauveron, but police say the investigation is ongoing and will not comment on who is or isn’t a person of interest.

The Redblacks provided no update on Larsen’s suspension following his lawyer’s statement.

The alleged incident took place on June 5 on the Toronto Islands around 11:30 p.m. ET when the victim, self-identified as David Gomez, and a 27-year-old woman became involved in a disagreement with another group of individuals. A man from the second group began making homophobic comments towards the pair and Gomez was knocked unconscious by two men, suffering a broken nose, cheekbone and orbital bone while sustaining a concussion and injury to his hip.

The accusations against the Larsen stemmed from a now-deleted Instagram post by individuals close to the victim, but gained traction after being shared on Twitter by prominent Black Lives Matter organizer Sandy Hudson. Other social media personalities shared the allegations and demanded action from the CFL, including Priyanka, winner of Canada’s Drag Race.

The Redblacks provided 3DownNation with the following statement in regards to the decision to release Larsen.

“Today’s releases were player personnel decisions as part of our yearly process to bring the roster down to the allowable limit prior to the start of training camp.”

As he was suspended by the team and not the league, Larsen is now free to find employment with another CFL club.