SAN DIEGO — For the second time in a week, the San Diego Loyal have taken a stand against hate speech used during a soccer match, according to tweets by the team. The team walked off the pitch Wednesday night after a member of the opposing team reportedly used a homophobic slur during the first half of the team's final regular-season game.
According to social posts by SD Loyal, the slur was directed at forward Collin Martin and the team walked off "in protest." The Loyal was up 3-1 in the match being held at USD Torero Stadium when the players took a knee at the start of the second half before walking off the field.
"SD Loyal forfeited the match in support of Martin and the diversity that the club stands for within its community," a statement from the team read in part.
The incident came less than a week after the club announced they would forfeit a point earned in a Sept. 23 match against the LA Galaxy II after it was learned that a player on that team used a racial slur directed at Loyal player.
"Last week we made it loud and clear that we do not stand for racism or homophobia. Nothing has changed this week," the team tweeted Wednesday night.
Wednesday's game was a big one for the Loyal with a playoff berth at stake. The team entered the match in third place with 23 points in the standings, tied for second place with LA Galaxy II but LA held the tiebreaker over coach Landon Donovan’s team.
After the game, the team released a video with Donovan where he said the team came to the decision to forfeit the match when neither the referee nor Phoenix's coach would remove the player who used the homophobic slur from the game.
A win against Phoenix Rising FC on Wednesday would have put the Loyal in a strong post for a playoff berth, pending the results that would happen Saturday night.
"Instead, SD Loyal finishes its first season in the USL Championship with consecutive forfeits, making a strong message that it will not stand for such behavior," the team's statement after the game concluded.
In last Wednesday's match, a Galaxy II player reportedly used a racist remark towards an SD Loyal player during play. According to a statement released by SD Loyal on Friday, "multiple referees, LA Galaxy II coaching staff and players were in the area, several of which (admittedly) heard the exchange. The SD Loyal coaching staff did not hear about the incident until the match was over."
The player on Galaxy II was later released from the team.