USL Team Forfeits Game They Were Leading, Misses Playoffs Protesting Slur
Teams have walked out or stopped matches in Europe over racial slurs, but this is the first I can remember of a team leaving a game in progress in the US over conduct of an opponent, in this case an alleged homophobic slur.
Just a week after one their players was the target of a racial slur, the San Diego Loyal saw their season end with a forfeit in protest of what they allege was another slur.
San Diego Loyal players walked off the field in protest of what they insist was the use of a homophobic slur by Phoenix Rising forward Junior Flemmings against openly gay San Diego midfielder Collin Martin.
The incident took place on the Loyal’s final match of the regular season, and one San Diego needed to win to help its chances of qualifying for the USL playoffs. The Loyal held a 3-1 lead when the incident in question took place just before halftime.
The incident in question involved Martin reacting to what he heard as a homophobic slur from Flemmings, which led match referee Joseph Salinas to issue Martin a red card because he mistook Martin’s reaction to be, in itself, a homophobic slur. After a prolonged discussion, Salinas waived off Martin’s red card, but did not issue Flemmings a red card, citing the fact he didn’t hear Flemmings say anything.
The Loyal refused to continue the match if Flemmings wasn’t removed, either by the match officials or substituted by Phoenix Rising, but Phoenix Rising coach Rick Schantz refused to remove Flemmings, leading to the Loyal’s decision to walk off the field and forfeit the match.