Updated April 23, 2021
April 10, 2021 (New York, NY) — Athlete Ally responded to news that Major League Soccer and LA Galaxy player Sebastian Lletget used a homophobic slur in a video shared to his Instagram account. Lletget later issued the following apology and statement through Outsports:
“I messed up. Earlier today, I posted a video that included me using a derogatory slur in Spanish. I have taken down a video from my Instagram story but want to address its impact and not hide from this. I take full responsibility and ownership on what was an extremely poor and ill-thought phrase and have no excuse for my actions. I am sorry and know the pain that this term has caused for so many.
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.”
Lletget’s apology and acknowledgement of the hurt homophobic words can have is an important step, and we hope to see him continue to deepen his understanding of how these words keep LGBTQ+ players and fans from feeling safe to be openly who they are. Homophobic language perpetuates a toxic culture in sports, and to do better, one needs to understand that words truly do matter.
On April 23, 2021, Major League Soccer announced that Lletget will be suspended and fined, and that Athlete Ally will lead him in a diversity, equity and inclusion training. With education comes the power to do better and to use one’s platform for good. We are grateful to MLS for making this step forward possible, and look forward to working with Lletget towards the goal of making sport more safe, welcoming and inclusive for all.