Rising boots Jamaica’s Flemmings

Jamaica forward Junior Flemmings (12) attempts a shot during the first half against the United States during semi-final play in the CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer tournament at Nissan Stadium on July 3, 2019 in Nashville, TN, USA.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Junior Flemmings, the Jamaican football midfielder who was suspended from his American professional club, Phoenix Rising, for hurling a homophobic remark at an openly gay player has been booted from the organisation.

Following his mid-match slur during a game in the American United Soccer League against San Diego Loyal’s, Collin Martin, at the end of September, the 24-year-old who hails from Tivoli Gardens was suspended for six matches and placed on administrative leave.

The League also fined him an undisclosed amount.

The bigoted remark had so offended the San Diego Loyal players that they walked off the field in solidarity with their teammate, forfeiting the game despite being ahead 3-1 at the time.

The Jamaica Gleaner reported that Flemmings scored 29 goals in 43 appearances for Phoenix Rising since signing for them in 2019. This 2020 season was his best, netting 14 goals and winning the Golden Boot award.

His contract with the club recently expired coinciding with the end of the administrative leave and the club announced last Friday that it will not renew the deal.

Rising coach Rick Schantz said of his former star player’s departure, “his contract ended, and there’s not a whole lot to be said, other than that he’s genius, got lots of opportunity, and I think he’s going to be extremely successful wherever he goes.”

In spite of Flemmings denying the accusation, the Jamaica Football Federation had at the time issued a statement saying, “to make it clear that we abhor foul, abusive or discriminatory language. We are indeed disappointed and we impress upon our players both locally and internationally to be mindful of their expressions.”

“Every player should use this incident as a teachable moment while they maintain their professionalism even under pressure or provocation,” JFF added.

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