A U.S. Olympic fencer who is under investigation for sexual misconduct claims to have confronted two of his teammates after they stood on the Olympic stage wearing pink face masks in what appeared to be a protest of his presence at the Games.
Alen Hadzic, 29, an alternate on the men's epee fencing team, wore a black mask as he was introduced while his three other teammates wore pink ones.
Hadzic, of Montclair, New Jersey, received a temporary suspension from the US Center for SafeSport in June amid an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by three women, including groping, while he was a student at Columbia University between 2013-2015.
Alen Hadzic, 29, left, an alternate on the men's epee fencing team, wore a black mask as he was introduced while his three other teammates wore pink ones in protest at being on the team with him while being accused of sexual misconductInsurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
But he told USA Today that he feels justified in calling out his fellow fencers for their pink protest.
'They never asked me for my side of the story. They never asked for evidence or how I felt,' he said.
Hadzic has maintained his innocence, dismissing the claims against him as 'untruths.'
An arbiter overturned the suspension clearing the way for Hadzic to travel to Japan and compete with the rest of the USA Fencing team.
Judge Sherrie Krauser found that the suspension was 'inappropriate to the allegations,' and concluded that Hadzic's participation in the Tokyo Olympics 'would not be detrimental to the reputation of the United States or his sport.'
Alen Hadzic, 29, an alternate on the US men's epee fencing team is under an investigation related to sexual misconduct claims
The protest came on Friday just as Hadzic and his three other U.S. men's epee fencers were about to be introduced before their match with Japan.
Fellow fencer Curtis McDowald distributed masks with a black one for Hadzic and pink for the other three.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
'I just remember thinking it would be kind of silly if I stood out there with a black mask and I asked them if they had an extra pink one, and they go, "Oh, no,"' Hadzic said.
Shortly after the U.S. were defeated by Japan a photo was sent to Hadzic in which he realized he had been duped.
'It wasn't really until I saw that picture from the outside view that I realized what was going on,' he said.
Although he was unable to find McDowald, Hadzic says he did manage to confront his epee teammates, Jake Hoyle and Yeisser Ramirez.
American sabre fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad praised Hadzic's teammates on Twitter for taking a stand together with a picture of the photo
'I just told Hoyle I was frankly embarrassed to be his teammate,' Hadzic said. 'I was embarrassed to stand up there with him.'
He claims to have similar to Ramirez: 'I