Should it get to the championship game, Phoenix Rising FC won’t get home-field advantage after all.
Phoenix Rising FC, which won home-field advantage for the USL championship game due in part to a forfeit by San Diego Loyal last month, gave up the advantage voluntarily on Tuesday night, the league announced.
The decision “was made out of respect for the LGBTQ community,” and would have been inappropriate “and inconsistent with club values.”
Phoenix tied Louisville City FC in total points and victories due to the forfeit, but won the tiebreaker on a goal differential.
San Diego Loyal walked off after alleged anti-gay slur
The Loyal walked off the field in protest on Sept. 30 during their match against Phoenix after Rising forward Junior Flemmings allegedly called Loyal midfielder Collin Martin, who is openly gay, an anti-gay Jamaican slur.
The two were going back and forth a bit over a first-half yellow card when things escalated.
“It got personal pretty fast,” Martin told Yahoo Sports. “He used some bad language toward me and it got to the point where I was like, ‘Wow, this guy is super disrespectful.’
“[He] called me ‘batty boy,’ which I knew basically translates to f-----.”
Flemmings has denied using the slur, however “multiple” players confirmed Martin’s accusations. Flemmings was suspended for the rest of the season and fined by the league. Phoenix manager Rick Schantz was placed on administrative leave, too, though the club said that was for an unrelated matter.
Phoenix will take on El Paso Locomotive FC on Saturday in the Western Conference final. The winner will take on either Louisville or the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the championship.
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