A soccer match in America's second tier was abandoned after a player from one of the teams copped an alleged homophobic slur.
The match between the San Diego Loyal and Phoenix Rising ended prematurely after an alleged anti-gay slur from a Phoenix player sparked San Diego's team to walk off the pitch.
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San Diego tweeted after the incident that a slur was directed at midfielder Collin Martin, who announced in 2018 that he is gay.
In the first half a member of Phoenix Rising used a homophobic slur directed at Collin Martin. In response we have decided to walk off the pitch in protest.— San Diego Loyal (@SanDiegoLoyal) October 1, 2020
The San Diego players took a knee at the beginning of the second half, before the extraordinary scenes saw them storm off the pitch.
According to The Athletic’s Jeff Reuter, Phoenix midfielder Junior Flemmings called Martin a “batty boy,” a Jamaican slur used to belittle gay or effeminate men.
San Diego owner Landon Donovan part of walk-out
USMNT legend Landon Donovan, who owns San Diego, could be seen in a heated confrontation with Phoenix head coach Rick Schlantz over how to proceed before joining his players in the walk-off.
The conversation is hard to make out, but Donovan seems to say “We have to get this out of our game ... it’s homophobia.”
Schlantz appears to respond by asking Donovan, who is second all-time in appearances for the USMNT, how long he’s been in soccer.
Landon Donovan to Phoenix Rising coach Rick Schantz: "What do you mean this isn't a big deal? We have to get this out of our game."— Kyle Bonagura (@BonaguraESPN) October 1, 2020
Full video, with better audio quality, can be viewed here: https://t.co/MEiwlkYO3z https://t.co/r1xAsJ6hs7 pic.twitter.com/oo0CoQ8a3y
USL, Phoenix investigating alleged slur
The USL released a statement confirming it is aware of the alleged slur and is investigating the matter.
“We are aware of the alleged use of a homophobic slur in tonight’s match between San Diego Loyal SC and Phoenix Rising FC," the USL said.
"Foul and abusive language of any type has absolutely no place in our society and will not be tolerated in USL matches. An investigation is currently underway to determine the facts surrounding the incident and more information will be provided as soon as it is available.”
One of Phoenix’s co-owners, former MLB pitcher Brandon McCarthy, tweeted that Flemmings denied ever using the slur.
A statement from Phoenix soon followed, saying it is investigating the claim of a slur.
Viewers were left outraged by the incident, insisting that homophobia has no place in the game and defending San Diego's decision to walk off the pitch.
As a Rising fan, this is abhorrent and has absolutely no place in the game. If coach Schantz defended this, he just lost a lot of respect in my eyes. I’m absolutely embarrassed and offer my wholehearted support for this decision. You’re a first class organization— ƒαкιηﻭ ιηѕαηιту (@fakinginsanity) October 1, 2020
Put some pressure on the League beyond walking off. How about the team using racist or homophobic slurs on the field automatically forfeits the game. Or maybe that team's players don't get paid for the game.— Dudesbee (@Dudesbee) October 1, 2020
Just rewatched the San Diego v Phoenix game. It is absolutely disgraceful to see what has happen to San Diego over the last few weeks. This kind of hate and bigotry has no place in our sport. POC in our game shouldn't have to go through this. LGBTQ+ players shouldn't have to go— Nicholas T. Dorantes (@NickDorantes1) October 1, 2020
Good for you. As a rising supporter I am appalled and disgusted and as a queer non binary person I am hurt. I hope rising forfeits the points. Thank you for doing what is right— Scruffy (@scruffyTDH) October 1, 2020
We stand with you. Homophobia has no place here— Real Monarchs (@RealMonarchs) October 1, 2020
I’m proud of San Diego Loyal for walking off the field and not finishing the game. This shows they stand behind their players. Racism and hate speech will not be tolerated!’⚽️🙏🏾💪🏽— willie mcgrady (@williemcgrady) October 1, 2020
That’s unacceptable behavior for anyone and your response was justified! Thank you for having your teammates back and standing up against homophobia!— 🕸Spoopy Bitchstopher Colombitch👻 (@tradishskinbyrd) October 1, 2020
If we don't forfeit, and it doesn't supercede your forfeit, I will be livid.— Rising Nation (@PhxRisingNation) October 1, 2020
What a disgrace. I'm deeply sorry on behalf of my team.
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