Tag: League

Major League Soccer investigating Sebastian Lletget for homophobic slur

Sebastian Lletget

Sebastian Lletget during the Italy v USA International Friendly in 2018 in Belgium. (Pier Marco Tacca/Getty)

Major League Soccer has launched an investigation into LA Galaxy’s Sebastian Lletget over a homophobic slur in a video he posted to Instagram.

The 28-year-old, who began his career at West Ham before returning to the US in 2015, admitted he “messed up” in sharing the video on Friday (9 April).

In the clip Lletget approaches his teammate Julian Araujo from behind, slaps him on the neck and calls him by the Spanish slur “puto”, referring to a gay man.

The offensive term has a long history of being sung as a chant by football supporters from Latin American nations. FIFA, the world governing body for soccer, has repeatedly sanctioned the Mexican soccer federation over its fans’ use of the insult.

Araujo also posted the video on his Instagram account, but it has since been removed by both players.

Major League Soccer immediately distanced itself from Lletget and confirmed it would be reviewing his conduct in an internal investigation.

“We have no tolerance for discrimination and prejudice of any kind,” the league said in a statement posted on Twitter.

“We are aware of the use of a homophobic slur by an LA Galaxy player. MLS has begun a formal investigation regarding the language used by the player and more information will be provided as soon as it becomes available.”

In a statement to Outsports, Lletget said he wanted to “address [the] impact” of the video, “not hide from this,” and thanked for the website for holding him accountable.

“I take full responsibility and ownership of what was an extremely poor and ill-thought phrase and have no excuse for my actions,” he wrote.

“I want to be part of the solution — not part of the problem — and continue to be an advocate and an ally for the LGBTQ+ community. Those who know me know my character and heart. I will remain outspoken in my support and advocacy. My error doesn’t change that.

“Thanks for your accountability. I need to do and be better.”

LA Galaxy were early supporters of the LGBT+ community within US football, according to the LA Times. In 2013 the team signed Robbie Rogers, the first professional player in US soccer history to come out as gay, and the team has hosted annual Gay Pride nights at Dignity Health Sports Park.

Get ready for an all-queer version of the Justice League / Queerty

Get ready for an all-queer version of the Justice League

Comic book publishing giant DC Comics has captured the interest of fans with a new pledge: the publishing label will release an all-queer version of the Justice League later this year, should fans show enough interest.

DC, the label behind the iconic heroes Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, made the announcement as part of a new reader engagement campaign designed to help the publishing house steer its output.

Dubbed the “DC Round Robin,” readers will vote on a number of potential titles they want from the company with the winner hitting newsstands later this year.

One of those potential titles: Justice League Queer. A brief plot synopsis describes the story as “Eight young queer heroes investigate a series of monstrous manifestations around the world and discover that something much more terrifying is coming.”

Color us interested.

Related: DC Comics announces Pride anthology to celebrate its LGBTQ characters

While online interest has already begun to swell around the possibility of a new, queer superhero team, Justice League Queer still has some stiff competition. The potential book is one of 16 possible titles under consideration by DC.

Others include Green Lanterns: Underworld On Fire, a team-up between popular Green Lantern characters Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner; Suicide Squad Seven, in which Harley Quinn will lead a band of super-criminals against an evil cult; Paws Off the Justice League, which would follow the adventures of “super pets,” the animal companions of Superman, Batman, et. al. and Robins, a story in which all the former Robins (and in the comics, there are a few) meet up to tell stories about their adventures.

The first round of voting has already begun, with Justice League Queer squaring off against Robins in a tournament-style match-up. At the time of this writing, Robins has a significant lead, with 53.8% of the vote. Five days remain in the campaign, however, so that may yet change.

Interested fans can take part in the polling on Twitter via the official DC Comics Twitter account. 

The possibility of Justice League Queer follows DC’s increasing commitment to diversify its comic book titles and their subsequent spinoffs.

DC made history with the debut of Batwoman in 2019, the first superhero series to feature a lesbian lead character. The forthcoming Green Lantern Corps. series will also feature Alan Scott, an openly gay version of the Green Lantern. Last month, the publisher also announced a special Pride anthology featuring stories about its LGBTQ characters.

Major League Baseball manages full season without a gay slur on the field

Major League Baseball manages full season without a gay slur

The New York Yankees high-five each other after winning 6-3 against the Philadelphia Phillies on August 3, 2020 (Sarah Stier/Getty)

For the first time in four years, a season of Major League Baseball has passed without a single homophobic slur being uttered on the field.

The 2020 season ended on Sunday after coronavirus shortened it to 60 games, and all players managed to make it through without any recorded, on-field anti-gay controversies.

However, although it ended on a high note, the season wasn’t totally devoid of anti-gay sentiment.

Unfortunately the Cincinnati Reds’ game against the Kansas City Royals was marred by Fox Sports announcer Thom Brennaman using a homophobic slur live on air while he thought his mic was turned off.

Viewers were horrified to hear the veteran commentator referring to Kansas City as “one of the fag capitals of the world”. His on-air plea for forgiveness fell short of the mark as he broke off midway to comment on the baseball game in front of him.

Brennaman later issued a second apology, claiming he was unaware of the history of “hate and prejudice” the slur is rooted in, but Fox moved to suspend him after 30 years of commentating.

Sadly it was far from the first time the word was heard on the pitch.

The long history of homophobia in Major League Baseball is often blamed for the fact that only two players have ever come out as LGBT+, with no current players identifying as queer.

According to Ginny Searle of Baseball Prospectus, anti-gay slurs are “something of an annual occurrence” in Major League Baseball.

She told NPR’s Leila Fadel that although many teams engage in LGBT+ campaigns like Pride nights, in reality they don’t go far enough.

“I don’t know that you would qualify them as substantial enough to be a complete affirmation of the LGBT+ community,” she said.

“[It doesn’t] give certainties that on every instance – not just the broadcast booth, in the stands, the locker rooms, everywhere – the LGBT+ community is respected and not simply allowed, but welcomed as a substantial part of the community.”

But for Sean Doolittle, a Washington Nationals player and long LGBT+ ally, there is hope. He told Outsports that the fierce reactions to Brennaman’s slur indicated a fundamental shift in attitudes.

“My experience as a player, I really think is changing,” he said. “The outrage response is evidence it is changing.”

He recalled an incident at a game last year when a fan repeatedly called him a “fag” as he was warming up in the bullpen. The homophobe was immediately confronted by Dolittle’s teammates, who called security and had him ejected from the stadium.

“They knew, even as far as a fan heckling, there is no room for that in our game at the ballpark,” Doolittle said. “I thought that was awesome.”