Another day, another homophobic incident in the world of sports.
This time it revolves around soccer player Junior Flemmings, who now finds himself suspended from his next six games with The Phoenix Rising after he was accused of targeting a gay competitor with a homophobic slur. The United Soccer League announced their decision on October 6.
It stemmed from a game between Flemmings’ team and The San Diego Loyal on September 30. One of the Loyal’s teammates, Collin Martin, is openly gay. He came out in 2018 and remains the only active gay player in any of the four major U.S. sports.
Martin was apparently at the receiving end of a homophobic slur from Flemmings who called him a “batty boy” near the end of the game’s first half. The phrase is a derogatory term for gay men in Jamaica, the country where Flemmings hails from.
The situation for Flemmings goes beyond his suspension. His team announced that he will be placed on administrative leave for the remainder of his contract, which is due to expire on November 30. He is likely to not be resigned. Flemmings also faces an undisclosed fine for the matter.
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."
Full video, with better audio quality, can be viewed here: https://t.co/MEiwlkYO3z https://t.co/r1xAsJ6hs7 pic.twitter.com/oo0CoQ8a3y
— Kyle Bonagura (@BonaguraESPN) October 1, 2020
San Diego Royal’s manager Landon Donovan was livid over the alleged situation where he could be seen and heard voicing his frustrations with the refs and the Phoenix coach during the game.
“We need to get this out of our game!” Donovan exclaimed. “We need to get this out of our game! He then continued by saying, “It’s homophobia!”
When Flemmings was not removed at the start of the 2nd half … Donovan’s Loyal team took a knee and then left the field. They were in a good position at that point to win as the Loyal’s led by 3-1.
@USLChampionship suspends #PhoenixRising's Junior Flemmings for 6 games for his foul, abusive, homophobic language https://t.co/W6h4cuDeUL #USLChampionship #JuniorFlemmings #homophobic
— Michael Lewis (@Soccerwriter) October 6, 2020
Flemmings, who initially denied the matter, has deleted his Twitter and made his Instagram private in the days that followed.