Professional American cyclist, Quinn Simmons was suspended from his racing team on Wednesday after he expressed his support for President Donald Trump in an exchange over Twitter, according to a report from TMZ.
Trek-Segafredo, the organization that Simmons was racing for, released a statement that explained the athlete is suspended indefinitely due to comments they felt were “divisive, incendiary, and detrimental.” The team thought the comments represented the program, the sport, the fans, and the future of cycling poorly.
The comments that caused Trek to take action came from a conversation on Twitter between Dutch journalist, José Been, and Simmons about Donald Trump’s leadership.
“If you follow me and support Trump, you can go. There is zero excuse to follow or vote for the vile, horrible man,” Been wrote in the since deleted tweet. The journalist wrote in her original post that she also hoped for her American friends’ sake that the “horrible presidency ends for you.”
Shortly after, Simmons responded with “Bye” paired with a dark-skinned hand waving emoji.
But the cyclist did not stop there. Another person commented on the exchange previously mentioned.
“Apparently a Trumper,” they said.
Simmons fired back, stating “That’s right” with an emoji of an American flag paired with it.
Shortly after the exchange about differing political beliefs, Been deleted her entire account on Twitter. However, right before she did, she wrote that she felt bad about the situation as well as Simmons being penalized.
“To suspend him would never be my choice,” she confessed.
Despite some people’s speculation that the first-year Trek rider was let go because of his political views, the team’s manager, Luca Guercilena, provided a statement that negated the theory.
“We hold all Trek staff and management to a high ethical standard and our athletes are no exception,” Guercilena explained in a press conference.
“While we support the right to free speech, we will hold people accountable for their words and actions,” the organization added to further dismiss the theory that because Simmons was a Trump supporter, he was punished.
According to a report from CBS Sports, although the length of his suspension is currently unknown, it is highly unlikely that Simmons will race again this year as there are only five races left in the season.
Simmons has yet to release a comment on his feelings about the punishment or if he will be searching for a different program to join in the future.