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Landon Donovan and his USL team fight against homophobia and racism by forfeiting matches

The San Diego Loyal, a team in the USL that’s coached by USMNT legend Landon Donovan, is in the middle of a playoff race.

But that didn’t matter to them when it came to fighting racism and homophobia that they’ve had to deal with in their past two games.

On Wednesday night, an opponent allegedly said a homophobic slur that was aimed at Loyal player Collin Martin, who is openly gay. Loyal players eventually decided to protest by walking off the field and forfeiting the match against the Phoenix Rising.

Cameras captured Donovan speaking about the incident with officials, along with Rising coach Rick Schantz, in which Donovan said, “We have to get this out of our game.”

Donovan explained the players’ decision further:

“They were very clear in that moment that they were giving up all hopes of making the playoffs, even though they were beating one of the best teams in the league, handily. But they said that doesn’t matter. There’s things more important in life and we have to stick up for what we believe in. And so they made the decision to walk off.”

Both Schantz and the Rising released statements, with the team saying it was investigating the allegations, which a player denied:

The Loyal had just played in a game last week in which LA Galaxy II defender Omar Ontiveros used a racial slur aimed at a Loyal player.

The Loyal forfeited the point it got in the tie from that game, while Ontiveros was suspended by the league and cut from Galaxy II.

Update: Martin issued his own statement Thursday.

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