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How Should In-Match Discrimination Be Handled?

Comrade 86

DCFC Fans Poll - Junior Flemmings: Phoenix Rising midfielder gets six-game ban for homophobic slur  

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From the BBC Sports Website


Phoenix Rising midfielder Junior Flemmings has been banned for six games for making a homophobic comment to San Diego Loyal's Collin Martin. Jamaica international Flemmings, 24, made the comment during their recent second-tier USL Championship game. The Loyal players walked off in protest to forfeit a match they were leading 3-1, ending their chances of reaching the play-offs.

I have to say that I admire the stance taken by the Loyals team members and management in that they have prioritised the fair treatment of their player over a game they would almost certainly have won and have therefore lost the points that they would very likely have secured. I think this is pretty admirable and will certainly make other gay footballers feel a little more comfortable in a field that has not always been terribly tolerant or understanding of such issues.

It does however highlight some potential problems, not least of which is how the fans of clubs adopting this stance would want such situations handled and whether current rules regarding games forfeited under these circumstances unfairly punish teams reacting the way San Diego have.

Given we have no openly gay players in the Premiership or EFL, can the game change to become more inclusive without major upheaval and should it even need to?

For my part, I think 20 years ago I would have been quite ambivalent to the plight of gay players but as I've got older I've gained what I believe to be a more balanced view of how damaging homophobic slurs can be for those subjected to them. I'd now strongly advocate governance that looked to stamp out any form of bigotry within sport. I appreciate however, that my views will not be shared by everyone so perhaps this poll will offer an insight as to current thinking on the matter amongst us fans.

FWIW, as with racial bigotry, I think the vast majority of fans are very fair, inclusive and welcoming of diversity and that in reality, whilst a serious issue and one that needs addressing, that it is most often a small minority of folk who take issue with increased diversity. Yet while I feel huge progress has been made in UK sport, especially when compared to leagues in other countries where these problems can be far worse, there is plenty more that we need to do to address even passive indulgence of bigotry in the game we love. 





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I've gone:
1B... For obvious reasons
2C... I don't like the word "regardless" in option A, although ultimately it should be down to the officials to sort out, be that on the pitch at the time, or by the governing body dealing with it retrospectively.
3A... I'm not comfortable with punishing a team/club for individual misdeeds of any sort.  Fine/ban the offender(s) on an individual basis, but not punish the team as a whole, which of course ultimately affects the club and it's fans.  I'd also prefer to see the club (as the employer) punish/sack the offender, in an ideal world, certainly if the act in question was carried out during a game (ergo, whilst "at work").


Ultimately, I think it's so very sad that this sort of thing is still going on in 2020.  We don't seem to be evolving very quickly, do we?

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3 hours ago, Mucker1884 said:

2C... I don't like the word "regardless" in option A, although ultimately it should be down to the officials to sort out, be that on the pitch at the time, or by the governing body dealing with it retrospectively.

Agreed. So far as I'm aware the advised procedure is to report any abuse to the officials at the earliest opportunity, so that they can log everything in their match report which can then be referred to as evidence by the governing body and potentially the police if the offence is deemed criminal.

I understand the idea of walking off, but it kind of feels like letting the aggressor win if they can force you off the pitch.

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I like the idea of walking off, but realistically I’d be so pissed off as a fan of it cost us promotion. I applaud the team for doing it, but I’m glad it’s not us that had to do it. Hopefully it won’t ever need to happen again. Legislation should be put in place, and it should be dealt with by the officials. 

I don’t believe in the team forfeiting, a player could literally kill someone on the pitch, and the team wouldn’t be asked to forfeit, so that is a bit strong. But the strongest possible band, plus a boat load of awareness training for any perpetrators, and if the same club does it again, then maybe punish the club with signing any fines, as it points to a culture, rather than the thoughts of an individual. 

In the case though, as it’s been proven the guy did use the slur (hence his six match ban) which caused the walk off, I think the match decision should be reversed too, with it being made clear by the authorities that this is a one off due to the extenuating circumstances (it is very unfair that the victims loose a place in the play offs, while the perpetrators just loose a player for 6 games), and we will be putting in place set measures and punishments to come into force immediately to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Henceforth walk offs will forfeit the game, if a walk off ends up being the only possible option in the eyes of the victims, then we assure any victims that perpetrators will be punished in the strongest sense, including the referee for failing to control the situation and making the victims feel that justice is being done. 

homophobic slurs, racial slurs, any discriminatory language needs to be dealt with on an equal footing. 

it really boggles my mind that there are no openly gay players in British football. Law of averages says there must be some. It’s so sad that it’s a culture that they can’t come out. There’s openly gay guys in the army, ffs, so how ridiculously macho is the football world that gay guys think (rightly) that they’d face discrimination?

It would barely be noteworthy as far as I’m concerned. I just can’t put myself in the shoes of anyone who’d have a problem with it, it just doesn’t compute at all.

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