On Saturday, members of the Phoenix Rising FC supporters group Los Bandidos walked out of a match after it was told to remove a banner depicting crossed-out hate symbols.
The banner in question depicted a crossed-out swastika, along with several other crossed-out hate symbols, and contained the message “Stop Racism.” After was the banner was removed, members of Los Bandidos walked out of the match.
Phoenix Rising FC issued a statement on Sunday saying that it “unequivocally supports the ‘Stop Racism’ sentiment of the banner,” but that asked it that the banner be removed to comply with USL regulations and club safety policies. The club stated that “baiting artwork, such as a crossed-out Swastika, invites the most disgusting element in our society to deliver a thuggish rejoinder which has no place in our stadium.”
A statement from Phoenix Rising Football Club. pic.twitter.com/yjDZOseJ1u
— Phoenix Rising FC (@PHXRisingFC) August 27, 2017
To explain its position, Los Bandidos, issued statements on its social media channels. More from Arizona Family:
Today, we made a special banner specifically because of the events that have been happening recently. It said “Stop Racism” with hate symbols crossed out. That was it. Apparently, the team was asked by a business partner if we could take that banner down. To which we said- if that one goes down, they all go down. At which point, we left. This is where we draw a line, implying that racism is fine is concerning. Everyone in the club and the USL needs to have a think about what it is that football stands for, they need to have a think about what kind example we’re setting for everyone. To the players- we give our all to you, our songs, our banners, our effort is to help you. Values are not for sell.
According to ABC 15, Los Bandidos has brought “messages of anti-racism” to the club’s home matches over the course of the 2017 season.