Landon Donavon’s team makes a real stand against discrimination in football

This Worked Better Then Taking A Knee by Dan Smith

So the next few days will be dominated by what we do or don’t do in the transfer window, but I feel this is a crucial story to share with as many as possible.

As regular readers will testify I like to encourage debate about making all football (and life) a place where everyone is treated equal, no matter race, gender, sexuality, etc.

I believe that’s how we learn and find solutions, through conversation.

This week in America, San Diego Loyal’s players left the pitch in protest after an alleged homophobic comments from an opposition player.
This was in the second tier of the U.S. Football so I’m not sure if any video evidence can prove what was said or not said to the openly gay Collin Martin.

We have never had an active player in the history of the Premiership to confirm they are homosexual.

Not that it’s the public’s business but you also would not want them to be in fear to do so.

So hearing one of their peers is potentially subjected to this treatment is hardly going to encourage others to open up, but how Martin’s manager and teammates responded will bring more awareness then any (with respect) wrist bands or T shirts or hashtags.

They did the same last week by walking off the pitch when they accused an opposition player of a racial slur.

It made me think of what Les Ferdinand said about feeling taking the knee before kick-off had lost it’s meaning.

If a club in the USL make a stance that garners worldwide attention, then imagine if it were a major name in Europe or International Football.

That’s why I maintain England missed a chance to put massive pressure on UEFA when they refused to walk off in Bulgaria despite monkey chants and Nazi Salutes.

Landon Donovan’s Loyals not just knew leaving the field of play would cost them 3 points (in a fixture they were winning 3-1), it was their final opportunity to qualify for the play offs.
Imagine Gareth Southgate giving up precious points in a qualifier, Arsenal in the Premiership or Barca in the Champions League.

It would immediately do so much more to educate that next generation of fan that there should be zero tolerance towards discrimination! Not of any kind.

While they are watching stars every week take a knee, they are seeing no action when incidents do happen. It makes taking the knee an empty gesture.

Donovan is his nation’s second most capped player, so his country will pay attention to what he says.

He deserves credit for using his influence to tell those in charge that he won’t stand for ‘bigotry’.

Twice this week, instead of turning the other cheek like other clubs have done when their players have been subjected to abuse – Donovan (also the side’s executive vice president) put football second to more important issues.

He was willing to sacrifice his own sporting ambitions because ‘Some things are more important’. He’s smart enough to know that by being one of the best players the US have produced, he of all people criticising the Soccer Federation will make a noise in the media and put pressure on to do more than simply taken a knee.

Any fine or action will now be bigger. If Donovan hadn’t said what he said it would get swept under the carpet.

Of course the 2nd division of a sport, not even a nation’s biggest, is only the start. Yet it’s more impactful then taking a knee.

Now we need more clubs and players to do the same…



  1. Wonderful article Dan! A lot of things are more important than football, so respect to Donovan and you

  2. That’s the way to do it. Taking the knee, wearing rainbow laces and similar actions are meaningless and do nothing to help the fight against discrimination in my opinion. The Kick it Out campaign meant so much more but seams to have been dropped for some reason.
    Off topic but many reports appearing that Saliba could be going on loan to Rennes which I find surprising.

  3. Dan, the unfortunate thing is that the US Football Association, allows the homophobes and racists to win, because San Diego Loyals forfeit the game and Landon Donovan may face sanction. They are some in sport who believe in “win at all cost”, who will see the opposition tactics as being successful.
    However if every team stood up for such principles, advertisers would force the governing bodies to change their stance.
    “For evil to triumph all that is required is for good men to do nothing.”

    1. OG- are you serious? So they forfeit the points and the Manager is blamed. Unbelievable.
      You wonder the outcome if this happened in the UK and would hope, if not expect, the points to be awarded to the Loyals, the player banned, and the Club severely fined.
      But I suppose any country that elects Trump as a leader knows best
      Good article Dan

    2. Ozzie, your final line is what I have spent my whole adult life actively trying to promote in others and doing myself.

      It is one of the most profoundly true sayings of all and FAR MORE IMPORTANT than the sport of football itself, despite that sport itself (though NOT the corrupt business that surrounds it and manipulates it) being wonderful. It is in fact what the whole free world, with a few neutral exceptions, did so courageously back in the fight against Hilter and his evil tyranny.

      Sadly, the supreme irony of Britains coldness and unwelcoming attitude towards black immigrants in the early decades after the war (who are now so thankfully part of our, mostly, integrated society) showed how little most of the populace had then learned from defeating Hitler, the biggest evil bigot and racist of all time.

      The long slow crawl from under stone of NEANDERTHAL bigotry and prejudice then began , almost inperceptibly at first and gathered some momentum in the 1960 onwards.

      But sadly it is STILL in many millions of people around our globe, TRUMP AND HIS FOLLOWERS BEING PROMINENT AMONG THEM and these unthinking reactionaries are the very people we need to reach and educate. It is immensely frustrating and time consuming doing so but WE MUST, ALL OF US, never waver in our sacred duty.

      Finally and naturally, I of course applaud the action of LANDON DONOVAN AND HIS NOBLE TEAM!

      1. jon, you, I, ken1945, Phil, Sue and many others would remember the great Viv Anderson MBE of Nottingham Forest and Arsenal, who was the first black player for England and the racial abuse he received. We would also remember Justin Fashanu, who was (with apologies to Dan) , the first openly gay professional player, and the treatment he received.
        Many of us have become more accepting of “difference”; however the shame is that many have not. Monkey chants, bananas being thrown at players, homophobic chants, tragically have not been eliminated from the sport.
        An excellent documentary I recommend is “The Final Quarter” (2019) the story of one of the greatest Australian Rules Footballers Adam Goodes being driven from the game. It is an absolute disgrace!

          1. Dan, despite what some may believe, the Premier League was not the start of professional football and Justin Fashanu was the first professional footballer to come out as openly gay.

      2. “TRUMP AND HIS FOLLOWERS BEING PROMINENT AMONG THEM” i suggest you delve into american politics a bit more as trump is not the problem for african Americans, the Democrats are. Trumps actually done a fair bit for them.


          FTI, I am extremely au fait with USA politics and have been a life long political student . One of my degrees is in politics so I need no lectures from you on what is true and what is not,

          1. As you know jon, the Southern Democrats were openly racist, now all those states are controlled by Republicans, as the Democrats became more “liberal”.
            Trump panders to his base, which includes Ku Klux Klan sympathysers and white nationalist groups like the “Proud Boys”. There have been more incidents of terrorism by white nationists in the USA than by any other group.

  4. I listened to John Amaechi on Talksport the other day and what a brilliant man. He said Black Lives Matter was incredibly important whilst recognising Les Ferdinand’s view

    When the slogan for want if a better word has been used the response is frequently-all lives matter. I
    I have firmly stuck to that view too
    He powerfully suggested that no one supporting the campaign was saying that ONLY Black Lives Matter. It was a light bulb moment for me. Black Lives Matter too

    There are so many inequalities or lack of respect for differences in others.

    I’ll never forget that ghastly comedian, Bernard Manning tearing into gay actor, Rupert Everett on a tv chat show. It was horrible in every way. How on earth can we expect a gay football player to come out if fans get a free pass to abuse them and we are supposed to be living in more enlightened times

    In my largely white family, in multi cultural Britain I am proud to have an Indian cousin in law, a Mexican daughter in law and a gay nephew all of whom play a huge part in my life

    I can only hope that taking the knee develops into something that makes a lasting difference

    Well done Landon Donovan for doing the right thing

  5. Dan, the real sadness to any kind of bigotry is the fact that it is taught to us by our elders in one form or another.
    No one is born into this world with hate as part of their make up and/or DNA.

    Sometimes, the innocence of youth can be quite hilarious, despite it being such a serious subject.
    When we moved up to Scotland from Essex about twenty years ago, the property we purchased had it’s own private water supply as it still does today.
    The water can often be very brackish in colour, and the first time we ran a bath for our 4 year old grandson – he was intrigued as to what would happen to him when he saw the colour of the water and asked if he would turn the same colour as his cousin….who is part native american!!!!!!

    That second grandson, now goes around schools giving lectures on bullying and racial discrimination, including his old school, where the teachers asked him to point out where and when this all takes place and how should they handle it – they had no idea, it seems, that it was happening!!!

    It’s education, education, education from the very first minute they go to school and it should be tackled right from the start of educating our children…by people who have been educated themselves.

    Racial discrimination is the biggest scourge we face in the world today and watching the USA tearing itself apart by relieving their own civil war under Trump, shows we have not really progressed in over 150 years – and make no mistake we have our own problems in the UK as well, despite agreeing with JF that there have been some real and meaningfull movement in this regard.

    I believe if a club the size of The Arsenal, walked off the pitch due to racial abuse, the authorities would not be able to act as weakly as they have done in the past…AND…I also believe the club would get universal support from the fanbase – so good on you Donovan, let’s keep this momentum going, take the knee and do anything else we can in order to remove these ignorant thoughts/people from our society.

    1. Bravo KEN. Courageous and decent people, the world over will always put their own head above the parapet, as you have done and still do. Much applause from my heart and soul!
      I t may well come to one of our own top clubs needing to do as you outline to give much needed serious impetus to the mere gesture politics many football authorities naively think is enough. It is obviously not enough and todays more determined younger people are leading these dinosaurs, kicking and screaming into a brave new world.

      More speed to them! Apart form one disgusting post on this thread, which I addressed, I am certain all the others who have posted would much support our club if ever we walked off the pitch in refusal to submit to bigotry.

      1. ozziegunner, have just read your post my friend and I agree with most of what you say.
        UE was put into an impossible position with regards to incoming players and I have always argued his case regarding this.
        What I disagree with you on (I believe anyway) is his inability to coach the players he either inherited or was given when he joined.
        Also, his man-management skills were very poor, causing so much unrest, both inthe reactions of players and fans.

        I am about to order the book you recommended to Jon – The Final Quarter – looking forward to reading the story of Adam Goodes – stay safe down there!!!!

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs