Atlanta United announced a one-week suspension for star striker Josef Martínez on Wednesday morning. According to the team’s statement, Martínez was suspended for “conduct detrimental to the team.” He’s expected to rejoin team activities on September 12 and will miss Atlanta United’s match against Toronto FC on Saturday. 

Multiple team sources who were granted anonymity in order to describe private locker room events revealed to The Athletic that the suspension stems from an altercation between Martínez and Atlanta United head coach Gonzalo Pineda that took place after Atlanta’s 2-1 loss to Portland on Sunday. Sources familiar with the situation said that Martínez walked into the visitor’s locker room after the match, and in frustration, knocked over a catering table.   

At the time, Pineda was inside a room that’s reserved for coaches, but following the commotion, Pineda stepped into the player’s locker room and confronted Martínez. According to several sources, Martínez and Pineda had to be physically separated, with one source adding “it went downhill from there.” 

“(Martínez) just knocks it all over and there’s chicken and rice all over the locker room,” said a source who witnessed the incident. 

Martínez, 29, has scored eight goals and recorded four assists this season in a reduced role for Atlanta United. He has played in 22 of Atlanta’s 29 games, but has only started 12 for a side that has struggled throughout the year. Atlanta United is currently in 11th place in the Eastern Conference and in danger of missing the playoffs for the second time in three seasons. 

On April 6, the club announced that Martínez would miss six to eight weeks after he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his surgically repaired right knee to clean out debris. Martínez was eased back into the training and eventually made his return in a 2-1 home loss to Columbus on May 28. During that time, Pineda publicly supported Martínez, telling reporters that Martínez’s recovery was coming along well. 

“He’s a very important player for us, obviously,” said Pineda on May 13. “He’s been doing very, very good. He’s been responding very well after the surgery. So we are very happy with his progress.”