Landon Donovan walks his USL team off for second week running after discriminatory slur

October 1 – Former US international star Landon Donovan, who has moved into coaching with San Diego Loyal, forfeited the club’s second-tier match on Wednesday in protest against an alleged homophobic slur against at one of his players.

Donovan took his players off the pitch after an alleged comment directed at Collin Martin by Phoenix Rising’s Junior Flemmings, who denies using the language.

Upon hearing Martin’s complaint at halftime, first told to the fourth official during the USL Championship fixture, Donovan, who is also executive vice-president, said he “lost it”.

Loyal were winning 3-1 at the time in what was the final game of their inaugural season in the league.

“SD Loyal forfeited the match in support of Martin and the diversity that the club stands for within its community,” the club said.

Loyal added that players and coaches heard the slur but the match officials did nothing about it.

The incident came just a week after Loyal forfeited its previous match – a 1-1 draw against LA Galaxy II – after another player Elijah Martin was the victim of a racial slur by an opponent in the second half.

“SD Loyal finishes its first season in the USL Championship with consecutive forfeits,” the club said, “making a strong message that it will not stand for such behaviour.”

“Last week we made it loud and clear that we do not stand for racism or homophobia. Nothing has changed this week.”

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