Junior Flemmings, the Jamaican international, has been issued with a ban for half-a-dozen competitive matches following an investigation into his alleged homophobic slur during a USL Championship game on 30 September.
The 24-year-old Phoenix Rising FC attacking midfielder was deemed to have directed the insult at opponent Collin Martin, an openly gay player, just before half-time.
San Diego Loyal’s Martin claims he reported the abuse to the referee during the contest, but the official misinterpreted this and sent him off – which was later rescinded.
Because of Flemmings’ alleged actions, the entire San Diego Loyal team walked off their Torero Stadium in protest following the second-half kick-off. They forfeited the match, which they were leading 3-1, that scuppered any chance of reaching the USL Championship play-offs.
A statement from the USL Championship reads: “Following an investigation that included interviews with 11 individuals, including players, coaches and match officials, a six-game suspension and undisclosed fine has been issued 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.
“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 play-offs.”
The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF ) also issued a statement: “In light of the suspension of player Junior Flemmings by the USL Championship, the JFF reiterates its stance against foul and abusive language.
“Flemmings, who represents the Phoenix Rising FC, is alleged to have used derogatory language in an altercation with an opposing player. The opposing team forfeited the game. Flemmings was placed on administrative leave and was eventually suspended after an investigation by the USL.
”The JFF would like to make it clear that we abhor foul, abusive or discriminatory language. We are indeed disappointed and we impress upon our players both locally and internationally, to be mindful of their expressions within and without a game.
“Every player should use this incident as a teachable moment while they maintain professionalism even under pressure or provocation.
“We truly hope that Flemmings will quickly pick up the pieces and maintain the great scoring form if and when he is called to the national team.”
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