Elijah Martin, target of slur, kneels after the national anthem and during a moment of silence before an earlier game, against Orange County, at Torero Stadium. He wore a wristband with “BLM.” Photo by Chris Stone

In protest of an opposing player using the N-word — and not being disciplined immediately — the San Diego Loyal soccer club has forfeited the point it won Wednesday for its 1-1 tie with Los Angeles Galaxy II.

“We don’t even want to recognize being a part of a match where these types of actions take place,” said club Chairman Andrew Vassiliadis. “The Loyal in our name is symbolic of the diversity in our community and as a club we will not stand for this.”

Action during San Diego Loyal 1-1 tie Wednesday with host LA Galaxy II. Photo courtesy of San Diego Loyal

In the match’s 71st minute, Galaxy II player Omar Ontiveros, 25, directed the racist remark toward San Diego midfielder Elijah Martin, 24, born on the Fourth of July.

In 2014-15, Martin played for LA Galaxy II — the reserve team of Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy.

Multiple referees, Galaxy II coaching staff and players were in the area, several of which admitted to hearing the exchange, said the San Diego club.

The Galaxy player was not disciplined by LA Galaxy II coaching staff or referees, and SD Loyal coaching staff did not hear about the incident until the match was over, San Diego said.

Earlier Friday, USL Championship announced it had issued a six-game suspension and undisclosed fine to Ontiveros for the use of foul and abusive language Wednesday night.

Under his contract, Ontiveros could also be subject to additional discipline from LA Galaxy II. About 11:30 a.m. Saturday, his team tweeted that it had mutually agreed with him to part ways.

None of the facts in the subsequent investigation of the incident by the USL Championship were disputed by any of the involved parties, the league said.

Ontiveros will also serve an additional one-game suspension for his red card during the contest, bringing the full suspension to seven games. He was ejected in the stoppage overtime, according to a disciplinary summary.

The suspension begins Saturday night against Las Vegas Lights FC and include the remaining two games of the Galaxy II’s 2020 regular season and any postseason games this season.

Should any games remain on the suspension, they will be applied to the start of the 2021 USL Championship season, the league said from its base in Tampa, Florida.

The incident happened at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson as both teams were vying for the second-place spot in the Group B standings as the regular season winds down.

SD Loyal (6-4-5, 23 points) appeared to be in a prime position to reach the USL Championship playoffs, but LA Galaxy II tied the match after Martin, who the slur was directed towards, was sent off for a second yellow card.

“The club takes this matter very seriously and after learning about the situation in the locker rooms after the fact, the team believes they should’ve walked off the field with lack of discipline for this action,” said a Loyal statement.

The forfeit was a team decision, the club said, which tweeted the action in English and Spanish.

“If there is anything we have learned during the last few months with all the racial injustice matters that have occurred, we have to take action that have consequences when these matters occur,” said Loyal President Warren Smith. “I am proud of this organization, its ownership, staff and especially our players for wanting to take such action.”

In a tweet, the recently founded USL Black Players Alliance said: “This is about more than a game, it’s about humanity. We stand in full support of the @SanDiegoLoyal organization, its players, and its fans. Thank you for standing up for what you believe in!”

The Loyal has played in orange lately, but its alternate jerseys feature a full black kit with dark teal accent with “Black Lives Matter” across the nameplate on all players.

Moments of silence for racial justice, with players kneeling, have been held before games played at the University of San Diego’s Torero Stadium.

Said coach Landon Donovan on Twitter: “I couldn’t be more proud to be part of this club. What’s the point of the BLM jerseys/armbands, the kneeling before every game and the commitment to ending racism if we don’t address it when it happens right before our eyes? This is NEVER acceptable and we will not stand for it.“

Almost a week before the forfeited game, Martin posted a video on his Twitter account:

Updated at 11:59 a.m. Sept. 26, 2020

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