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San Diego Loyal walk off pitch after alleged homophobic slur

San Diego Loyal

The San Diego Loyal made quite a statement on Wednesday, as the entire team decided to walk off the pitch in protest after an alleged homophobic slur was directed at one of their players.

Ben Church and Aleks Klosok of CNN revealed the details of the walk off:

The alleged abuse was directed at midfielder Collin Martin, according to the club, after he was issued a red card at the end of the first half, with the Loyal leading 3-1 in the second-tier USL Championship. The red card was subsequently rescinded.

Martin came out as gay in June 2018 while with Minnesota United.

There was reportedly a heated exchange between the players, coaching staff, and the referees after the halftime whistle. This is presumably when the homophobic slur was uttered. The Loyal players came out to the pitch after the break, but quickly walked off as soon as the referee whistled to start the second half.

It is worth noting that the Loyal’s statement here came during a very important match in the league. By forfeiting the match, San Diego missed their shot at making the playoffs. They also had a substantial lead at halftime, which makes their decision to forfeit even more imposing.

Rising midfielder Junior Flemmings, who was singled out as the player who is suspected to have made the homophilic slur, came out with an official statement on Twitter after the game denying all claims:

This is an ugly development in the world of competitive sports, and we have to commend the Loyal for standing up and actually acting on their stance against any and all forms of abuse.