PHOENIX — The San Diego Loyal SC forfeited from a game Wednesday against the Phoenix Rising FC because of an alleged homophobic slur aimed at one of their players.
On Saturday, officials from each team met to discuss the issue and develop educational programs for players, staff and supporters to "share their backgrounds and life experiences".
Both the San Diego Loyal and Phoenix Rising ownership groups decided that they would use the opportunity to foster empathy and understanding between players as well as "bring awareness to the realities of conscious and unconscious biases".
Berke Bakay, Governor of Phoenix Rising FC released a statement that said:
“Prejudiced language and bigotry has no place in sport or anywhere else for that matter. The on-field events of Wednesday’s match could not be more contrary to the values of our organization. Bringing both clubs together to fight prejudice will undoubtedly lead to great things. We look forward to the implementation of these educational programs and hope that they can serve as a model for our league.”
Warren Smith, Co-Founder and President of the San Diego Loyal SC echoed Bakay's statement saying:
"We’ve received affirmation and an outpouring of support following our actions these last two matches. The purpose of our stand was to raise awareness, spread love and eliminate hate in all forms. We believe in second chances and look forward to working with Phoenix Rising on productive ways we can forgive, educate, and grow from these moments."
The two clubs will face each other next during the 2021 season.
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