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Football team forfeit match and walk off in protest after alleged homophobic slur used by rival player

Josh Milton October 1, 2020
Collin Martin. (Shaun Clark/Getty)

Collin Martin. (Shaun Clark/Getty)

San Diego Loyal sacrificed their chance to make the USL Championship play-offs after an alleged homophobic slur was directed at their openly-gay midfielder Collin Martin on Wednesday evening (30 September).

The San Diego, California, football team claimed that members of Phoenix Rising lobbed the insult at the end of the first half with Loyal leading 3-1.

Martin alerted the fourth official during the match, prompting both team’s managers to trade barbs with one another.

Returning for the second half, San Diego Loyal simply took a knee and then walked off the pitch – forfeiting the game entirely, the Evening Standard newspaper reported.

According to a Twitter statement, Junior Flemmings was the player accused of using the homophobic insult.

San Diego Loyal: ‘We do not stand for racism or homophobia.’

“In the first half, a member of Phoenix Rising used a homophobic slur directed at Collin Martin,” the club posted on Twitter.

“In response, we have decided to walk off the pitch in protest.”

“Last week we made it loud and clear that we do not stand for racism or homophobia,” the statement added. “Nothing has changed this week.”

“We will speak,” the team later added, “we will act.”

Indeed, the team staged a walk-off on 23 September after LA Galaxy II defender Omar Ontiveros used a racial slur against a San Diego Loyal player.

After officials did not sanction Ontiveros, San Diego Loyal withdrew from the game and forfeited the game in protest. It prompted LA Galaxy II to drop Ontiveros, Goal reported.

Flemmings, in a lengthy statement, rebuked claims that he was the player who said the slur.

“At no point did I say a homophobic slur towards Collin Martin,” he wrote.

“I do not know Collin personally, but I respect all of my opponents equally, Collin included.

“I stand in solidarity with the LGBT+ movement.”

“We went through a really hard incident last week and we made a vow to ourselves, to our community, to our players, to the club, to USL that we would not stand for bigotry, homophobic slurs, things that don’t belong in our game,” Loyal manager Donovan said.

“Last week our one regret was we should have done something in the moment when Elijah was racially abused.

“That was our regret. I wish we had done something… our guys, to their credit, said we were not going to stand for this.

“They were clear in that moment that they were giving up all hopes of making the playoffs, even though they were beating one of the best teams in the league.”

More: Colin Martin, football, Homophobia, Junior Flemmings, Phoenix Rising, San Diego Loyal, soccer

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