In the year 2019, a lot of the things that shouldn’t have to be said anymore still have to be said. One of the more obvious among them is having to tell someone at an NWSL game between Utah Royals FC and the Portland Thorns FC not to yell racist comments at Portland goalkeeper AD Franch.
The allegations rolled in like a lot of information unfolds in the NWSL, it came via Twitter.
Someone sitting near the alleged racist tweeted that there was someone in section 15 “shouting racist things to [AD] Franch.”
From there, things get a bit murky. Some say that security came over, but no one would point the person out, so they just stayed the rest of the game in the section to keep the peace. Others said that they did point the person out, but security wouldn’t remove them without more “proof.”
Utah and Portland both issued statements.
We are aware of the allegations of racist fan language during last night’s match and are continuing our investigation of the incident. Racism in any form is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our stadiums.— Utah Royals FC (@UtahRoyalsFC) September 7, 2019
We are aware of the allegations of racist fan language in Salt Lake last night at the game and are investigating. Racism in any form is unacceptable.— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) September 7, 2019
Captain Becky Sauerbrunn and forward Christen Press have also made comment on the allegations.
This is totally unacceptable. There is NO place for racism in our game or anywhere, EVER. https://t.co/itvhWSiLb3— Becky Sauerbrunn (@beckysauerbrunn) September 7, 2019
I am a proud black woman. I play for a team and fans that I love. Acts of racism and hate hurt everyone. This club stands for equality. What we won’t accept from any fan is racism or discrimination at any level. https://t.co/WddLQx5h9O— Christen Press (@ChristenPress) September 7, 2019
Assuming the allegations are true, and we have no reason to believe they aren’t true, Utah must suspend all parties who used racist language and who protected the person.
There should be no warning given. There should be no vague statement of “it’s been taken care of” given to the public. As clear as Emily Sonnett’s red card last night, the person making the racist comments, and the people helping protect them should all be kicked out of any future Utah Royals FC matches.
And on a slightly different but related note, the NWSL should create and publish a fan code of conduct as well. Right now the only code of conduct for the RSL organization seems to be the one for MLS and Real Salt Lake if you look at the website for the RioT and the RSL website. In year seven, it is baffling that there is not an NWSL Code of Conduct or at least not one available online.
I shouldn’t have to say not to be racist. But once more for the people in the back that need the tip: Don’t be racist.
Edited to add tweets by Sauerbrunn and Press.