Watch: Soccer Team Forfeits Match, Alleges Anti-LGBTQ Slur

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday October 1, 2020

Collin Martin (front) in 2019, when he played with Minnesota United
Collin Martin (front) in 2019, when he played with Minnesota United  (Source:Tony Gutierrez/AP)

Soccer team the San Diego Loyal left the playing field and forfeited a match against Phoenix Rising, saying that a player from the Phoenix team had hurled an anti-LGBTQ slur at an openly gay Loyal player, ESPN reports.

The incident took place on Sept. 30 at San Diego's Torero Stadium. The Loyal were ahead of Phoenix Rising 3-1 when out Loyal Player Collin Martin was given a red card. A short time later, it was reported that a homophobic slur had been hurled at Martin. A video posted at ESPN shows a referee talking about what he had heard, with the coach of Phoenix Rising Rick Schantz claiming not to have understood the alleged slur, a Jamaican epithet for a gay man.

Loyal coach Landon Donovan can be heard saying, "Homophobia, racism, it has no place in our sport."

The Loyal did not say which of the Phoenix Rising players allegedly hurled the epithet, but a Phoenix player named Junior Flemmings subsequently put out a statement in which he declared, "At no point did I say a homophobic slur against Collin Martin,"CBS News reported.

Added Flemmings: "I stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ movement."

Collins' teammates surrounded him as the Loyal left the field at halftime, and when the second half of the match began, the Loyal players, together with their coach, "took a knee and then walked off, forfeiting the match," CBS News reported.

The USL Championship released a statement that same night, in which the organization said:

We are aware of the alleged use of a homophobic slur in tonight's match between San Diego Loyal SC and Phoenix Rising FC. 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.

Media sources took note that this was the second match in a row that the San Diego Loyal walked off the field and forfeited a match in support of a player.

ESPN noted: "In the Loyal's previous match, Galaxy II player Omar Ontiveros was suspended by the league, and ultimately cut by the team, after uttering the N-word in the direction of Loyal player Elijah Martin."

Watch the video of the incident posted by ESPN, below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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