American football stars turned away from London nightclub for being ‘too urban’

Update 5.40pm: A London nightclub has denied it refused entry to NFL player Mark Ingram and three of his New Orleans Saints team-mates on Monday night because they were "too urban".

In a statement issued to Press Association Sport on Tuesday afternoon, Cirque le Soir claimed it was not true that the six had been turned away on the grounds of being "too urban" and that it was their policy not to admit all-male groups.

"All of the team at Cirque le Soir are really upset by the suggestion that there was anything malicious in our turning away of Mark Ingram and his friends from the club on Monday 27th February," they said.

"We proudly celebrate diversity, not only as part of our shows, but as part of who we are. We would not dismiss anyone as "too urban" and we would not turn anyone away on the basis of their ethnicity, sexuality or any other characteristic - other than those expressed in our door policy: As an exclusive members club, we cannot guarantee entry to anyone and full discretion always lies with the door.

"We particularly discourage casual dress code, intoxicated customers & male heavy entourages.

"Discretion lies with our door staff and while we sympathise with Mark and his friends we fully support our employees' right to challenge groups that do not adhere to our door policy. Admitting an all-male group goes against our policy and is clearly stated on Facebook and on all reservation confirmation emails.

"At Cirque le Soir we are committed to offering everyone a night like no other. We would be very happy to welcome Mark Ingram and his friends - male and female - to experience when they are next in town."

Original story: NFL player Mark Ingram claims he and three of his New Orleans Saints team-mates were denied entry to a London nightclub yesterday evening for being "too urban".

Running back Ingram, a former first-round draft pick in 2011, alleged on Twitter that Cirque Le Soir in Soho had stopped the 27-year-old, Sterling Moore, Vonn Bell and BW Webb, along with two others, from entering their premises despite the fact they had reservations.

Writing on his Twitter account, Ingram said: "They told us they were "6 big guys" that are too "Urban" but nobody taller than 5'11!! cc:saints roster".

Ingram, who is 5'9", then uploaded a picture of the group along with the caption: "Is this what 6 big "too urban" guys look like?! @CirqueLeSoir @TheVonnBell7 @SterlingMoore @OhGi_3Dawg3 @burtleyc @Flintsbadguy #AllSmiles"

On its website Cirque Le Soir claims to be "London's most A-list club and decadent circus", while it lists of host of celebrities who have attended the venue including Super Bowl LI half-time act Lady Gaga, Oscar-winning actor Leonardo Di Caprio and multiple Grammy Award-winning rapper Kanye West.

The NFL is currently on an off-season break after the Super Bowl earlier this month but the Saints quartet were over in the capital ahead of their trip later in the year when they will face the Miami Dolphins at Wembley.

Ingram's story brought responses from a number of other NFL players, many of whom are due to play in London next year, including Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills, Arizona Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson and Baltimore Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson. The latter quoted a response for his former Saints colleague on social media and said: "Not too urban for @NFL to have us performing over there tho".

In a series of other tweets Ingram, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2009 for being the best college player in the country, stressed he had otherwise enjoyed his trip.

He said: "Nonetheless we all can't wait to play out here @NFLUK next season!!! Gonna be crazy experience and I'm excited about it! I ❤️ England!"

Press Association Sport has contacted Cirque Le Soir for comment regarding Ingram's allegations.


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