Junior Flemmings, a player for the USL pro soccer team Phoenix Rising, has been suspended and fined for using a homophobic slur against San Diego Loyal player Collin Martin last week.
The USL reports: “The USL Championship announced on Tuesday, following an investigation that included interviews with 11 individuals, including players, coaches and match officials, that it has issued a six-game suspension and undisclosed fine to Phoenix Rising FC’s Junior Flemmings for the use of foul and abusive language in the form of a homophobic slur during the club’s match against San Diego Loyal SC on September 30. Per the player’s contract, Flemmings could also be subject to additional discipline from Phoenix Rising FC and remains on administrative leave. Flemmings’ suspension covers the entirety of the 2020 USL Championship Playoffs.”
The slur against Martin prompted the entire San Diego Loyal team to walk off the field. They were leading 3-1 in the match but decided that standing up for Martin and against homophobia was more important than winning it.
Martin came out as gay in 2018, making him then the only openly gay professional athlete active in any of the five major sports leagues: MLS, NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB (Martin’s now in the USL).