USL Championship suspends Flemmings for homophobic slur

homophobia in soccer
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The USL has suspended Phoenix Rising forward Junior Flemmings six games after an investigation into alleged verbal abuse of out gay player Collin Martin of San Diego Loyal.

The USL says it spoke to 11 people — players, coaches, and officials — about the incident that caused San Diego coach Landon Donovan and its players to forfeit at halftime after the referees and officials refused to take Flemmings out of the match.

The forfeit came with San Diego leading 3-1. The Loyal missed the playoffs by three points.

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Flemmings, the Rising’s leading scorer with 14 goals and three assists in 14 appearances, will miss Phoenix’s playoff run and Blair Gavin has taken over as interim coach while Rick Schantz is on administrative leave.

Schantz was widely criticized for his comments on video circulated online that showed him telling Donovan the incident was “part of the game.” He has since issued a long apology, saying he reached out to Martin to apologize, and committed to working with LGBTQ+ groups in Arizona to “develop a personal growth plan.”

Flemmings, 24, is a 10-times capped Jamaican national team player. He vehemently denied the allegations after the game and is no longer on Twitter.

The USL also said it’s committing to providing league-wide sensitivity training to its players.