USL team forfeits in protest alleging anti-gay slur

The San Diego Loyal walked off the field in protest Wednesday night, saying a Phoenix Rising player used an anti-gay slur directed at midfielder Collin Martin in the first half of their USL Championship league match.

Martin is an openly gay player.

The game, played at Torero Stadium in San Diego, was not recognized in the league’s results from Wednesday, and the match has been ruled a forfeit. The Loyal led 3-1 at the time of the protest.

The USL Championship issued a statement later Wednesday.

“We are aware of the alleged use of a homophobic slur in tonight’s match between San Diego Loyal SC and Phoenix Rising FC,” the league said in its statement. “Foul and abusive language of any type has absolutely no place in our society and will not be tolerated in USL matches. An investigation is currently underway to determine the facts surrounding the incident and more information will be provided as soon as it is available.”

In the Loyal’s last match, Galaxy II player Omar Ontiveros was suspended by the league, and ultimately cut by the team, after uttering the N-word in the direction of Loyal player Elijah Martin.

“Last week we made it loud and clear that we do not stand for racism or homophobia. Nothing has changed this week,” the Loyal tweeted Wednesday night.

The Rising also issued a statement and said it is “investigating the claim of a homophobic slur” used by one of its players. The Rising said the player “vehemently denies these allegations.”

“Phoenix Rising stands with the USL in rejecting and punishing any homophobic behavior,” the Rising said in its statement.

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