Collin Martin, an openly gay athlete who plays for soccer team San Diego Loyal, was allegedly at the receiving end of a homophobic slur made by a member of an opposing team during their most recent game.
The person responsible for apparently uttering the words was Phoenix Rising midfielder Junior “Flemmo” Flemmings who later denied the claims in a statement made on his Twitter. It was reported that the term Flemmings said was “batty boy”, a Jamaican slur used to belittle gay or effeminate men.
— Junior”Flemmo”Flemmings (@Flemmo_77) October 1, 2020
Regardless, the damage was done and a decision to walk off the pitch in protest took place.
San Diego Royal’s manager Landon Donovan (who is also a legend in the sport) was livid over the alleged situation where he could be seen and heard voicing his frustrations with the refs and the Phoenix coach.
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.
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."
— Kyle Bonagura (@BonaguraESPN) October 1, 2020
Donovan later revealed that another one of his teammates had been racially abused in a game just a week ago and they weren’t going to tolerate anymore bigotry on the field.
“We went through a really hard incident last week in the L.A. match 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,” he said.
The USL says it’s investigating the incident, adding in a statement, “Foul and abusive language of any type has absolutely no place in our society and will not be tolerated in USL matches.”