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Phoenix Rising Involved In Anti-Gay Slur Controversy

Published: Thursday, October 1, 2020 - 11:53am
Updated: Thursday, October 1, 2020 - 11:54am
Phil Latzman/KJZZ
Phoenix Rising head coach Rick Schantz in 2019.

Arizona’s top professional soccer club has found itself in the middle of a controversy over the use of an anti-gay slur.

The incident took place during Wednesday night’s match in San Diego.

The Phoenix Rising won in a forfeit after the San Diego Loyal walked off the field at the start of the second half in protest against an anti-gay slur that was apparently aimed at one of its players.

San Diego was leading 3-1 at the time, when the comment was made by the Rising’s Junior Flemmings to an openly gyy player named Collin Martin.

American soccer great Landon Donovan is the Loyal’s head coach. He can be heard telling Rising head coach Rick Schantz and the referees that the Jamaican expression, known as demeaning to gays, had no place in the sport. 

Donovan explained afterwards why his team walked off.

“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,” Donovan said.

In a statement, Flemmings strongly denied using the slur and says he stands in solidarity with the LGBTQ community.

Rising officials say they are investigating the incident.