RefSix

Offensive language on a football pitch

George Checinski

New Member
Level 7 Referee
US Level 2 (USL) football club San Diego Loyal walked off the pitch during their match on Wednesday against Phoenix Rising in reaction to an alleged homophobic slur towards one of its players. By walking off, Loyal forfeited the match and ended their chances of reaching the playoffs. In the past footballers and clubs have talked of walking off the pitch when confronted with homophobic or racist abuse but Loyal's proactive stance in a competitive match is a rarity. The alleged abuse was directed at midfielder Collin Martin with the Loyal leading 3-1 in the second-tier USL Championship. Martin came out as gay at Pride Day June 2018 while with Minnesota United. Loyal's manager, former US international Landon Donovan, was involved in a heated exchange with both the referee and Rising Phoenix coach Rick Schantz at half-time. Loyal's players returned after the break but walked off when the referee blew his whistle. Collin Martin brought the slur to the attention of the officials. Wednesday's incident comes after Loyal forfeited a match against LA Galaxy II last week after an alleged racial slur was aimed at another San Diego player. The Galaxy and the player accused of making the comment "mutually agreed to part ways" according to a statement from the club. In a postgame video statement posted to the Loyal's Twitter feed, Donovan said Martin had brought the homophobic slur to the fourth official's attention as the first half ended. "We went through a really hard incident last week in the LA match and we made a vow to ourselves, to our community, to our players, to the club, to USL, that we would not stand for bigotry, homophobic slurs, things that don't belong in our game," Donovan, who played for Everton in the EPL,said. "I know how hard it was for them to even take the field tonight given everything that happened, and then for it to happen again a week later was just devastating for me. "Our guys, to their immense credit, said we were not going to stand for this. 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. "They said it doesn't matter. There are things more important in life and we have to stick up for what we believe in. "If we want to be true to who we are as a club, we have to speak, and we have to act."

So what is offensive on the pitch (homophobic, racial, anti-sematic slurs ... )?
How should players/managers react, and what should be the penalty under the LOTG?
Is this just an overreaction and should just be brushed off?
 

socal lurker

RefChat Addict
If the slur was heard by the ref team, it is a clear, obvious send off (red card).

I suspect the issue is the R did not hear or could not identify the culprit. A R cannot send off a player based on what opponents say.
 

one

RefChat Addict
Level 7 Referee
This is the conversation between the referee and coaches. It may be geo blocked.


The referee sent someone off using the word 'gay'. He later realised it was in the context of explaining an incident and not calling someone 'gay'. There was an allegation of a gay player being call 'bit*h boy'.

I think the bigger question is, even if the coach accepted the ref can't send the player off because he hasn't heard it, and believes his own player, was he right to withdraw from the game?

For me this is a by-product of footballing bodies being more word than action when dealing with these situations, then players and coaches take the matters in their own hand. Zidane wasn't crazy headbutting in the final of a world cup. He was provoked. What was done about it? It was all swept under the carpet.

There are three things that make the game ugly today.

- Referee abuse - Nowhere near enough action is taken by footballing bodies to eradicate this.
- Player abuse in the forms of racism, homophobia, insulting family members (below the belt comments) - some work has been done here but only when things get public and likely not to be dealt with if they can get away with not doing anything.
- Diving - This is not in the same category as the other two but the punishment handed out is not enough to eradicate it from the game.
 

RustyRef

Administrator
Staff member
I suspect the issue is the R did not hear or could not identify the culprit. A R cannot send off a player based on what opponents say.

No, but in England at least they are still obliged to report any such allegations whether they heard it or not. Much of the time any player making racist, homophobic, sexist, etc comments will make sure they do so out of earshot of the match officials.
 

Big Cat

RefChat Addict
Level 6 Referee
"Bat-ty Boy" to be more precise.

The referee was unfamiliar with the term.
That comment wouldn't register a flicker with me. Never thought about its meaning. Probably loads of terms I wouldn't recognise. I've had a sheltered life
 

QuaverRef

I used to be indecisive but now i'm not so sure
Level 6 Referee
That comment wouldn't register a flicker with me. Never thought about its meaning. Probably loads of terms I wouldn't recognise. I've had a sheltered life
Also, I could name at least 2 players in the leagues I referee in who actually go by the name ‘batty’. It’s all about context
 

George Checinski

New Member
Level 7 Referee
It's not as simple as the "word" that is used. You need to weight the circumstances
1) content of the words used (this could be tricky when you consider language, culture ... )
2) volume
3) who was this directed to if anybody (i.e. was this just a momentary outburst)

I find it too harsh when:
Two black American high school players casually calling either n***a amounting in a caution
A player in a Christian academy being sent off and suspended by the association for an outburst "Jesus Christ"
A Uruguayan player in England calling a Frenchman from Senegal a n***o resulting in a 6 game suspension
 

WiisardNic

Member
Level 4 Referee
It's not as simple as the "word" that is used. You need to weight the circumstances
1) content of the words used (this could be tricky when you consider language, culture ... )
2) volume
3) who was this directed to if anybody (i.e. was this just a momentary outburst)

I find it too harsh when:
Two black American high school players casually calling either n***a amounting in a caution
A player in a Christian academy being sent off and suspended by the association for an outburst "Jesus Christ"
A Uruguayan player in England calling a Frenchman from Senegal a n***o resulting in a 6 game suspension
Why was that harsh?
 

George Checinski

New Member
Level 7 Referee
Please tell me you’re joking

This is only based on what I know, that this was said in a conversation and not directly intended to be derogatory.
Tell me what I don't know, am I just seeing one side of the incident. If it was more than that, then I'm totally wrong.
 

QuaverRef

I used to be indecisive but now i'm not so sure
Level 6 Referee
This is only based on what I know, that this was said in a conversation and not directly intended to be derogatory.
Tell me what I don't know, am I just seeing one side of the incident. If it was more than that, then I'm totally wrong.
I don’t think you need to know more. A white footballer referring to a black footballer as a negro is totally unacceptable. With or without any context, a descriptive word of that nature isn’t required. Let’s not get bogged down in this though, it was years ago
 

George Checinski

New Member
Level 7 Referee
It's not as simple as the "word" that is used. You need to weight the circumstances
1) content of the words used (this could be tricky when you consider language, culture ... )
2) volume
3) who was this directed to if anybody (i.e. was this just a momentary outburst)

I find it too harsh when:
Two black American high school players casually calling either n***a amounting in a caution
There is no derogatory intent so it is acceptable in a high school league.

A player in a Christian academy being sent off and suspended by the association for an outburst "Jesus Christ"
An outburst with a low volume is not cautionable in a high school league. But the suspension is not a decision by the referee or league, it's by the academy association so that is warranted. So it's just the caution that I'm questioning.
 

George Checinski

New Member
Level 7 Referee
I don’t think you need to know more. A white footballer referring to a black footballer as a negro is totally unacceptable. With or without any context, a descriptive word of that nature isn’t required. Let’s not get bogged down in this though, it was years ago

I see why I was wrong in my attempted justification.
 

Arbiter

Member
Level 3 Referee
We are missing an important piece of the puzzle here: play had started following the incident itself and the officiating crew was not made aware of it until half time. At that point, there is nothing the referee can do unless the AR or fourth official attempted to alert him before the restart and he missed it. This is not what happened. Donovan and his team were absolutely incorrect to demand that the official send the player who made the comment off.
 

Peter Grove

RefChat Addict
This is only based on what I know, that this was said in a conversation and not directly intended to be derogatory.
If you're talking about the Suárez-Evra incident, the FA disciplinary panel, after interviewing dozens of people from both clubs, came to a different conclusion. The panel found that, in relation to the term in question, which Suárez freely admitted using:
his insistence that the term was meant to be friendly and conciliatory was reckoned "unsustainable and simply incredible given that the players were engaged in an acrimonious argument."

Bad Blood: Luis Suárez vs Patrice Evra
 
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