Photo courtesy of The Guardian
On Wednesday September 30, 2020, US professional soccer team San Diego Loyal walked off the pitch after halftime of its match against Phoenix Rising to take a stand against alleged homophobic abuse against one of its players, openly gay Collin Martin. With this walk-off, Loyal forfeited the match (they were winning 3 - 1 at the time) and their chances of reaching playoffs were dashed.
This incident happened one week after the Loyal’s Elijah Martin endured a racial slur by LA Galaxy’s, Omar Ontiveros. Omar Ontiveros was given a seven-game suspension by the USL Championship and released by the club.
The FGG applauds Loyal and its head coach and co-owner, Landon Donovan, for standing by these decisions, sacrificing a chance at the playoffs, but not sacrificing their character or values of decency, kindness, acceptance, and respect. Standing up against homophobia and racial bias is what allies and heroes are made of. We need, now more than ever, role models such as these.
Sport is a great force that can unite us and divide us at the same time. At FGG, we aim to promote the unity factor in sport and culture to eliminate any type of bias in order to provide a safe and inclusive environment for all participants.
There is no place for bias in sport.
NOTE: HERE and HERE are relevant videos regarding this situation, including interviews with Collin Martin and Landon Donovan. There is also this excellent article from SportsIllustrated.com