After a lengthy discussion with the referee, the players and the Phoenix coach over an outrageous injury to Collin Martin, the San Diego coach gave the order to leave the court. What happened?
The meeting between San Diego Loyal and Phoenix Rising, by the USL of the United States lived an outrageous moment that became controversial when Landon Donovan, 38, decided to go with his squad off the court in the face of a homophobic insult to one of his players from a rival.
It seems that we are talking about another time, but this really happened in the United States. Collin Martin, who came out openly gay in 2018, accused the Jamaican Junior Flemmings of yelling at him ‘batty boy’. This term in Jamaica is a very derogatory term to refer to someone as gay.
After the insult there was an altercation between Collin and Flemmings, which ended with a red card for the San Diego player, since when the referee, Joseph Salinas, intervened, he heard him say the word gay from his mouth and threw him out.
Faced with the unfair situation, Donovan (former number 10 of the US national team, where he played 157 games and scored 57 goals) He asked the highest authority of the match to also expel Flemmings, since he had started the fight with his insult, but Salinas refused, apologizing for not having listened to him.
This led to an argument with Rick Schantz, the Phoenix coach, who argued that it was just “football stuff.” There another San Diego player came up and critically said, “Don’t be silly, you know what it means.” Undeterred Schatz continued in his position saying it was not racism, but Donovan was clear and sentenced: “This can’t happen two weeks in a row. It’s not racism, it’s homophobia. You are better than that. We have to get this out of our sport.”
This fight was recorded and you can see in the video the entire discussion between the coaches, the players and the referee.
To no avail, the former player and coach with an outstanding career made the decisive decision to take his team off the field of play, which did his bit to eliminate racism and homophobia from football.
After the match, Donovan spoke with the Loyal networks highlighting the position of his players and showing the pride he feels for them. “Our guys, to their immense credit, simply said: ‘We will not tolerate this’. They were very clear at the time that they were giving up all hopes of making the playoffs, even though they were beating one of the best teams in the league. But they said that it did not matter, that there are more important things in life and that we have to defend what we believe. They made the decision to leave. “
In addition, the club took several awareness measures, such as, for example, they launched a spot on their networks that reflects a great message: “This is bigger than football. We are loyal to our community. We are loyal to our players. We are loyal to what is right.” Also, they uploaded a video where Collin himself gives a message for children who suffer discrimination and -even- changed the club logo to one in gay pride colors.
Martin himself uploaded a publication telling his version of events. “At last night’s game (for this Wednesday, September 30) there was an altercation between Flemmings and me, where he called me ‘batty boy’. This is not the first time that I have suffered homophobic comments from rivals towards me“He also commented that Flemmings tried to retract his statements saying that he had not meant that.
He also thanked the solidarity of the club, the coaching staff and his teammates. “Hopefully this is another example that we have a long way to educate ourselves as people and take hatred out of the game.“Collin closed with an inspiring message.
As for Junior Flemmings, he also referred to what happened by leaving a post on his social networks, in which at all times tried to false the accusations against him. “At no point did I make a homophobic comment towards Collin Martin, I don’t know him, but I respect all my opponents equally.” In addition, he added that he is very disappointed by the actions of San Diego, since he could not defend himself and expressed his support with the LGBTQ + movement.
The 3-1 result was not recognized by the USL and the game was declared lost to San Diego. In a statement the league explains that the fact is being investigated.
“We are aware of the alleged use of a homophobic slur in the game between San Diego Loyal SC and Phoenix Rising FC. Profanity and abusive language of any kind has no place in our society and will not be tolerated in USL matches. Currently an investigation is underway to determine the facts surrounding the incident and further information will be provided as soon as it becomes available”, They reported.
What is clear is that the sport has no place for any discriminatory comment and that the reaction of Donovan and his players must be an example to follow in eliminating violence, be it racial or homophobic, from sport.