By Kathryn Batte For Mailonline
Published: 11:05 BST, 1 October 2020 | Updated: 11:37 BST, 1 October 2020
San Diego Loyal players and their manager Landon Donovan walked off the pitch in protest after an alleged homophobic slur was directed at their openly gay midfielder Collin Martin.
Phoenix Rising midfielder Junior Flemmings - who denied the claims - was accused of making the comment just before half-time which prompted a heated discussion between Donovan, the referee and opposition manager Rick Schantz at the break.
Donovan was heard telling his opposite number: 'we have to get this out of our game'. His team returned to the pitch for the second half but only to take a knee before walking off.
Landon Donovan and San Diego Loyal walked off the pitch after an alleged homophobic slur
Donovan told his opposite manager Rick Rick Schantz: 'we have to get this out of our game'
Martin had originally been sent off for this reaction to the slur but this was later rescinded. The club wrote on Twitter: 'In the first half a member of Phoenix Rising used a homophobic slur directed at Collin Martin. In response we have decided to walk off the pitch in protest.'
This is the second game in a row Donovan's team have forfeited a match after their defender Elijah Martin was racially abused in their match against LA Galaxy II. The game ended in a 1-1 draw but San Diego Loyal opted to forfeit the match two days later after they were made aware of the incident.
Donovan, who had spells at Everton and La Galaxy during a 20-year playing career, insisted his team would not stand for bigotry.
San Diego Loyal tweeted to say why they had decided to walk off the pitch on Wednesday
This is the second game in a row Donovan's club have forfeited in the USL Championship
'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