Phoenix Rising FC forward Junior Flemmings was suspended for the rest of the season after allegedly using an anti-gay slur directed toward San Diego Loyal SC midfielder Collin Martin last week, the USL announced on Tuesday.
Flemings will miss Phoenix’s final six games of the season and was hit with an undisclosed fine. He will also remain on administrative leave through the rest of his contract with the team, which runs through the end of November.
“Phoenix Rising accepts and supports the results of this investigation,” Phoenix general manager Bobby Dulle said in a statement. “These actions could not be more contrary to the core values of our organization, and we apologize to all who were affected … We will use this as an opportunity to learn, grow and be a force for change, as we work towards eradicating bias from our sport and our community.”
San Diego Loyal walks off field after anti-gay slur
The Loyal walked off the field in protest on Sept. 30 after Flemmings called Martin, who is openly gay, an anti-gay Jamaican slur.
The two were jawing back and forth over a first-half yellow card.
“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-----.”
Flemings has denied using the slur, though “multiple” players confirmed Martin’s accusations. Martin informed a referee — who initially thought Martin was the one using anti-gay language and gave him a red card, which was later cleared up — and San Diego then took a knee at the start of the second half and walked off in protest.
USMNT legend Landon Donovan, who co-owns and manages the Loyal, got into a heated confrontation with Phoenix manager Rick Schlantz on the field, too.
Both Schlantz and Flemming were placed on administrative leave, though the club claimed that Schlantz was placed on leave for an unrelated matter.
“The way I’ve been taught is if you do something wrong, you own up to it and you do what’s necessary to make it right,” Martin told Yahoo Sports. “[Flemmings] hasn’t done that. I hope he takes a real hard look at himself, he learns from it and he wipes that word from his vocabulary.”
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