Jamaican players Lamar Walker and Jashaun Anglin have been signed by Miami FC in the United Soccer League, the club announced today.

Reggae Boyz forward Junior Flemmings has signed a one-year deal with Birmingham Legion FC in the United Soccer League in the United States.

Suspended Phoenix Rising forward Junior Flemmings has won the Golden Boot award for the 2020 USL Championship season, the league announced today.

Phoenix Rising midfielder Junior Flemmings has been suspended for six games and fined an undisclosed sum following an investigation into allegations that he used “foul and abusive language” against a San Diego Loyal player on September 30.

In addition, according to reports the Jamaican could face additional sanctions from his club.

The suspension means that Flemmings will miss all of the 2020 USL Championships playoffs. He had scored 14 goals in 14 matches for the Phoenix Rising.

The USL said 11 persons were interviewed during the investigation. They included coaches, players and match officials.

Flemmings was accused by San Diego Loyals player Collin Martin, who is gay during a match on Wednesday, September 30. His actions prompted the Loyals players to abandon the match during the first half even though they were leading 3-1. Flemmings had characterized the allegations as being untrue.

The club subsequently sent the player on administrative leave while the league conducted an investigation into the allegations.

 

 

   

In Jamaica football culture, from scrimmage level to professional, it’s quite common to hear players blurt out homophobic slurs in colourful shades of the local dialect, whether with rising anger or in jest.

So, it was not at all surprising to see the reactions when The Gleaner recently posted the story on United Soccer League’s (USL) Phoenix Rising player, Junior Flemmings, who was accused of hurling a Jamaican homophobic slur towards an openly gay San Diego Loyal player.  A lot of the reactions were empathetic. In fact, a good deal of the comments section on their Instagram page read like this:

“Oh dear. It’s a Jamaican [thing]. No hurt [feelings] meant.”

“It's the norm. Don’t chastise him. For Jamaicans, everybody [is] a ‘b***y b*y’.”

“It [is] not [that] serious.”

Respondents seemed very understanding, even though Flemmings denied the allegations.  For many of us, after all, shouting homophobic slurs during football games just isn’t a big deal, in fact, it’s the norm.  No harm was done, right?  Wrong, just because something is the norm that doesn't make it right, nor should it be set in stone. Norms can change over time.  And, in cases like this, a lot of those changes will facilitate the growth of a society.

EJ, the Communication and Campaign Strategist, at J-Flag, pointed out that the incident is an opportunity to remind people about why the use of homophobic slurs should be re-evaluated.

 “Whether it is said in the public domain or in private spaces, or around close friends and family, slurs reinforce the negative views of LGBT identities,” he reflected.

 “Slurs often bring the community back to sites of hurtful mental and emotional trauma. While some use the excuse that it is not being directed at any [particular] person who is out [as] lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBT), slurs reinforce the idea that LGBT identities are so ‘dirty’ that they can be used to cause verbal harm to ‘straight’ men.”

In addition to maintaining negative stereotypes associated with the LGBT community, EJ is concerned that reinforcing the notion that Jamaica is ‘the most homophobic place on earth’ could also be harmful.  He recommends being more aware of the consequences homophobic remarks can have on the country.

“If we’re serious about removing that stigma from our name and the damage that it causes to brand Jamaica, we have to be more mindful of our language and conscious of the harm it may cause.”

Flemmings’ recent statement that was posted to his personal Twitter page ended with, “I stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ movement.”   Who knows, maybe his public support for the community will motivate others to consider the feeling of the LGBT community and the consequences of their actions, on and off the field, in the future.

 

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

United Soccer League team, the Phoenix Rising has put midfielder Junior Flemmings on administrative leave as an investigation proceeds into allegations that he used a homophobic term against an opposing player during his team’s game against the San Diego Loyal on Wednesday night.

Phoenix Rising has released statement on social media indicating that the Jamaican was sent on leave so that he may fully focus on cooperating with the investigation.

Depending on what the investigation reveals, the Reggae Boyz player could find himself being without a job as the club have made their policy clear.

"Phoenix Rising FC is actively anti-homophobia and anti-racist and has a zero-tolerance policy for actions which run contrary to these core values," the club said in its statement.

During the game on Wednesday, San Diego Loyal midfielder Collin Martin accused Flemmings of hurling an homophobic slur at him. The accusation resulted Loyal players walking off the field in protest even though they were leading 3-1.

Flemmings, who has scored 14 goals in 14 matches for the Phoenix Rising, has denied the accusations.

Peter-Lee Vassell, a Reggae Boy who was last season cut by his Major League Soccer (MLS) outfit, Los Angeles FC (LAFC), after the player only managed six games for them and six out on loan with United Soccer League (USL) outfit Phoenix Rising FC.

Vassell has since been seen training with Danish second division club, HB Koge, sparking rumours he was on his way there this season.

The playmaker’s agent, Damani Ralph, confirmed that Vassell was training with the club, but would not go into any further details.

“[Vassell] is currently on trial with HB Koge, and we are hopeful for a successful trial. He has now played in two friendly games and is doing well. This is as much as I can comment on right now,” said Ralph.

Vassell was a standout at high school, playing for Cornwall College and Montego Bay United, before he began his professional career with Harbour View FC, making 44 appearances before his move to LAFC.

He debuted for the Reggae Boyz in 2018, earning 16 caps, from which he scored six goals.

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