The National Women’s Soccer League tracked down and banned a fan who made racist taunts toward one USWNT and Portland Thorns goalkeeper Adrianna Franch.
Utah spurred the investigation, marking another instance of the ownership group stepping up in the face of intolerance.
Owner Dell Loy Hansen, who also owns Real Salt Lake, has been quick to condemn this behavior. On Aug. 11, RSL fired head coach Mike Petke after he repeatedly made homophobic slurs against referees. Three weeks later, the club asked a family to put away a flag that has been associated with white supremacists.
Considering the scope of racist behavior across sports and countries, the commitment to an inclusive fan experience is commendable.
NWSL players speak out against racism
Players were quick to call out the ill behavior after the game, especially considering how many players have faced similar conduct. Utah Royals players did not shy away from admonishing their fans as well.
The situation surrounding our game friday night is not a NEW issue, nor is it a first for me. RACISM is NOT okay in any form!! We as a HUMAN RACE can be better and should be better. We as a SPORT can help show the way. pic.twitter.com/SAoPwIuaLA— Adrianna Franch (@ADizzle23) September 8, 2019
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
Racism continues to be a problem at soccer games
Earlier this month, Romelu Lukaku faced racist chants from Calgiari fans, who have had embarrassing racist incidents each of the last four years. From booing and making monkey noises whenever black players touch the ball to yelling racial slurs and throwing bananas, the problems are widespread and deflating.
Players have become more vocal in opposition to this behavior, and leagues have publicly said that they’re against it. But many of the leagues have not put much teeth into their penalties, which spotlights Utah and the NWSL’s decisiveness in this instance.
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