Landon Donovan’s San Diego Loyal walked off the field on Wednesday night in protest after a member of the Phoenix Rising FC allegedly called openly gay San Diego player Collin Martin a homophobic slur.
According to reports, Phoenix Rising FC player Junior Flemmings called Martin a “batty boy” which is widely used in Jamaican slang as a slur against gay men.
Donovan argued with referees and Phoenix coach Rick Schantz about the incident and asked for Flemmings to be removed from the game.
“We need to get this out of our game!” Donovan told Schantz and the referees during a heated discussion on the pitch. “We need to get this out of our game! It’s homophobia!”
Flemmings was not removed and, as a result, Donovan’s team took a knee on the field to start the second half and then walked off which resulted in the Loyal forfeiting a game they were winning, 3-1.
Here is the moment that San Diego walked off of the field.
The @SanDiegoLoyal took a knee as the second half kicked off, then walked off the field in support of their teammate, Collin Martin, who was called a homophobic slur.
Here is that moment: pic.twitter.com/2uWbPGq6h4
— Kyle Bonagura (@BonaguraESPN) October 1, 2020
Following the game, Donovan said that he was proud of his team for walking off of the field and taking a stand for a greater cause.
“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,” Donovan said.
The incident Donovan was referencing from a match a week ago involved a San Diego player being targeted with racial slurs.
— San Diego Loyal (@SanDiegoLoyal) October 1, 2020
Flemmings, meanwhile, is denying the allegations.
“At no point did I say a homophobic slur towards Collin Martin,” Flemmings wrote in a statement posted to Twitter. “I do not know Collin personally, but I respect all of my opponents equally, Collin included.
“I am disappointed by San Diego’s actions this evening as I have been mauled and ridiculed online with no opportunity to defend myself … I stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ movement.”