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Sporting Kansas City midfielder Felipe Hernandez has been suspended for the remainder of the 2021 MLS season without pay after he revealed to the league that he had been betting on MLS games.
The league said Friday in a statement that Hernandez came to Sporting Kansas City officials and said that he feared for his safety because of the money that he owed from betting on games. MLS started an investigation into Hernandez's betting habits on July 5 and that SKC "immediately took steps to refer the matter to law enforcement and ensure that Hernandez received necessary support and counseling."
According to the MLS statement, Hernandez bet on two MLS games online. Neither of the games involved Sporting Kansas City and there was no indication that Hernandez "possessed confidential or otherwise non-public information concerning those two MLS matches."
The league pointed out in its statement that it didn't find evidence of any other MLS player betting on MLS games. MLS players are not allowed to bet on league games and sports betting is not legal in either Kansas or Missouri.
Hernandez releases statement
Hernandez said in a statement Friday afternoon that he had been receiving treatment for a gambling addiction.
"Over the last several months, I have been able to reassess, take responsibility for my actions and get the proper care for something that has greatly affected me," Hernandez wrote.
His full statement is below.
Hernandez, 23, appeared in six games for Sporting KC in 2021 and made four starts. He scored one goal and had three assists in those matches. His final appearance for SKC this season came on July 4, a day before MLS began its investigation.
Sporting KC is second in the Western Conference with 52 points through 28 games. SKC has six more games before the MLS playoffs begin in November.