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Galaxy’s Sebastian Lletget apologizes for using anti-gay slur

Galaxy player Sebastian Lletget on the field
The Galaxy’s Sebastian Lletget apologized for using a homophobic slur in a video he posted on Instagram.
(Phelan M. Ebenhack / Associated Press)

Major League Soccer has launched an investigation into an anti-gay insult used by Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget in a video the player posted on Instagram.

“We have no tolerance for discrimination and prejudice of any kind,” the league said in a statement posted on Twitter. “We are aware of the use of a homophobic slur by an LA Galaxy player. MLS has begun a formal investigation regarding the language used by the player and more information will be provided as soon as it becomes available.”

In the video, posted early Friday, Lletget approached teammate Julian Araujo from behind, slaps him on the neck and can be heard saying the slur in Spanish. Despite widespread disapproval, the slur is commonly heard at Mexican national team games, most recently in an Olympic qualifying tournament Araujo played in last month. FIFA, the world governing body for soccer, has repeatedly sanctioned the Mexican soccer federation over its fans’ use of the insult.

Araujo also posted the video on his Instagram account. It has since been removed by both players.

Moments after the videos were posted, Cyd Zeigler, co-founder of Outsports, a website focusing on LGBTQ issues and personalities in amateur and professional sports, contacted the Galaxy, and both the club and Lletget issued statements of apology and reiterated their opposition to “homophobic or derogatory language of any kind.”

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In his statement to Outsports, Lletget said he wanted to “address [the] impact” of the video, “not hide from this,” and thanked for the website for holding him accountable.

“I take full responsibility and ownership of what was an extremely poor and ill-thought phrase and have no excuse for my actions,” he wrote.

“I want to be part of the solution — not part of the problem — and continue to be an advocate and an ally for the LGBTQ+ community. Those who know me know my character and heart. I will remain outspoken in my support and advocacy. My error doesn’t change that.

“Thanks for your accountability. I need to do and be better.”

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Members of Pasión 1927, a Los Angeles-based fan group of the Mexican national soccer team, share their thoughts on a popular chant that is widely considered homophobic.

Lletget then followed with a 10-minute phone conversation with Zeigler.

“He expressed — and I believe he has — incredible remorse,” Zeigler said. “He talked to me about how he’s actually a supporter of the community and was really ashamed of what he did and he wants to be part of the solution.”

Singer/actress Becky G, Lletget’s longtime partner, portrayed the first LGBTQ protagonist in a big-budget superhero movie in 2017’s “Power Rangers,” a role she has said she was proud to play.

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“As I told him, these types of things don’t offend me,” Zeigler said of the slur in the video. “The reason we do this is because when kids hear this language from their teammates, it scares them. So he didn’t need to apologize to me. All I want is to get people to be part of the solution and not the problem, because this kind of language really hurts kids.”

The Galaxy were early supporters of the LGBTQ community. In 2013 the team signed Robbie Rogers, the first
professional player in U.S. soccer history to come out as gay, and the team has annually hosted Gay Pride nights at Dignity Health Sports Park.


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