U.S. Fencers Wear Pink Masks at Tokyo Olympics After Teammate Is Accused of Sexual Assault

Jake Hoyle, Curtis McDowald and Yeisser Ramirez wore pink face masks before the start of the men's épée event on Friday

Jacob Hoyle and Curtis McDowald

Three members of the U.S. men's fencing team appeared to protest their fourth teammate the Tokyo Olympics on Friday, after he was accused of sexual misconduct by three different women.

Jake Hoyle, Curtis McDowald and Yeisser Ramirez all wore pink face masks before the start of the men's épée event, Yahoo Sports reported.

U.S. fencer Alen Hadzic, 29, did not, instead wearing a black mask.

The athlete, who joined the team in Japan as an alternate, was accused of sexual misconduct in separate incidents between 2013 and 2015, according to the New York Times. He denied all claims.

Concerning the allegations, Hadzic was briefly suspended from participating in the sport in early June by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, the outlet said. He joined the team in Tokyo as an alternate after an arbitrator reviewed the case.

USA Fencing did not immediately respond to comment regarding the display of pink face masks when reached by PEOPLE.

Hadzic's attorney, Michael Palma of Florida, says his client refutes the accusations against him.

"100 percent," Palma tells PEOPLE, "all of the allegations, he completely denies."

Team USA lost to Japan on Friday, 45-39, finishing in ninth place. Hadzic did not participate, but his inclusion on the team sparked controversy. One anonymous accuser spoke out against him in an interview with USA Today after the decision to suspend him was reversed.

"I think one case is enough for you to not be allowed to compete at the f---ing Olympics," the accuser told the outlet. "It really makes you question how far someone needs to go in order for them not to be able to compete.''

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Hadzic has largely been separated from the team while in Japan due to restrictions placed on him by USA Fencing.

Palma tells PEOPLE Hadzic flew to the country two days after his teammates.

In an interview with USA Today, Hadzic — a New Jersey native — told USA Today he was initially welcomed by some of his fellow fencers and coaches upon his arrival.

"I didn't know what the atmosphere would be like until I came here, and then when I actually got to the training facility all of the coaches shook my hand and congratulated me on making the team,'' Hadzic told USA Today. "All of the fencers that I thought would be afraid to speak with me, all came up to me and said hi. Even the women."

Jack Weiner — an attorney for one of the accusers who did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment — questioned Hadzic's involvement before the start of the Games.

"I think of the possibility that this man accused of sexual assault by three women, credibly in the eyes of investigators, will stand atop the Olympic podium, wrapped in an American flag," he recently told the Times. "And I ask: How can this be happening in 2021? Have we learned nothing these past few years?"

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