American cyclist Quinn Simmons was suspended by Trek-Segafredo on Wednesday after making what his team referred to as "incendiary" controversial comments on social media regarding President Donald Trump during a conversation with a Dutch journalist. The journalist, José Been, wrote on Twitter in reference to Trump that she hopes for the sake of her American friends the "horrible presidency ends for you," and added that "if you follow me and support Trump, you can go. There is zero excuse to follow or vote for the vile, horrible man."
Simmons replied to Been's tweet by writing "Bye" with an emoji of a dark-skinned hand waving. Another Twitter user tweeted at Been and, referencing Simmons, wrote "Apparently a Trumper," to which the cyclist responded "That's right" along with an emoji of the American flag.
That’s right 🇺🇸— Quinn Simmons (@QuinnSimmons9) September 30, 2020
After the exchange, Trek-Segafredo released a statement explaining that Simmons, who is in his first year with the team, is suspended indefinitely.
"While we support the right to free speech, we will hold people accountable for their words and actions," the team said. "Regrettably, Simmons made statements online that we feel are divisive, incendiary, and detrimental to the team, professional cycling, its fans, and the positive future we hope to help create for the sport. In response, he will not be racing for Trek-Segafredo until further notice."
In addition, Trek-Segafredo team manager Luca Guercilena stated that Simmons' 2020 season is likely over.
"As of today, the rider is suspended and we are deciding on the length of the suspension but we can't deny that with five races left this season, the probability that he will race again this year is remote," Guercilena said in a press conference.
Been ended up deleting her Twitter account following the exchange, according to the Associated Press. Prior to deleting her account, Been wrote that she felt "horrible about the situation and terrible for Simmons to miss his beloved classics. To suspend him would never be my choice."