Members of Chilliwack FC’s premier women’s team put this patch on their jersey to recognize the LGBTQI2S+ and BIPOC communities. (Submitted photo)

Members of Chilliwack FC’s premier women’s team put this patch on their jersey to recognize the LGBTQI2S+ and BIPOC communities. (Submitted photo)

B.C. women’s soccer team penalized by club for putting LGBTQI2S+ patch on jerseys

The Chilliwack FC board didn’t approve patches recognizing the LGBTQI2S+ and BIPOC communities

A jersey patch has created controversy within Chilliwack FC.

Members of CFC’s women’s premier team say the youth soccer club has punished them for wearing an LGBTQI2S+ and BIPOC symbol on their uniform.

LGBTQI2S+ is a term that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or questioning), intersex, and two-spirit and BIPOC stands for black, Indigenous and people of colour.

The team’s players wanted to show support for marginalized, underrepresented groups and met with the CFC board to present the idea. According to Brandon Lupton, a team supporter and partner to one of the players, the club expressed concern that the suggested patch could be negatively received and suggested that “Chilliwack isn’t ready.”

CFC chairperson Andrea Laycock said the conversation was more nuanced than that.

She said that while the board expressed support for the concepts of inclusivity and diversity, they felt a CFC jersey wasn’t the right place to make a political statement.

CFC’s adult liasion, Richard Tagle, said that following the initial meeting, his daughter Megan Tagle and three players from the women’s team worked to come up with an alternative. They produced three words, ‘Respect for ALL,’ which could be used on jerseys, used as a #hashtag on Twitter, and utilized in other ways.

“Three players had a long discussion with Megan and I,” Tagle said. “After that meeting, I met with the three plus the captain of the Div 1 team to discuss the proposal. The five of us came to an agreement to begin with “Respect for ALL” on the jersey, and the three would begin an educational video program on our website and social media to take steps to move towards an symbol to be placed on the jersey.

“At no time were we in disagreement with a symbol, but solely on the speed at which we would proceed. Again, all five were in agreement and I took that back to the board for approval.”

Laycock thought it was a “good first step,” and CFC planned to have the words on 1,200 jerseys in the association.

They still do.

But in the end the women’s players weren’t satisfied and didn’t think the alternative went as far as they wanted. They opted to wear their preferred option on the sleeve of their jerseys.

That decision had immediate consequences.

“After just one game, complaints from a bystander made their way to the chairperson of Chilliwack FC (Andrea Laycock),” Lupton explained. “Forty eight hours after the team’s first game, they received an email stating that the board requested a meeting with them to discuss disciplinary action for the embellishment of the uniform.”

READ MORE: Gay, bisexual teens half as likely as straight teens to play sports: UBC study

READ MORE: Chilliwack FC hands out player awards virtually

A few days after the meeting, Lupton said three players received a two-game suspension and a warning of further discipline (longer suspension, or revoking of membership) if the misconduct continued.

The players appealed the ruling on the grounds of unfair and excessive disciplinary action, offering to accept a one game suspension.

Their appeal was denied.

Laycock said the players would have run afoul of the board putting anything on their jerseys, and the two-game suspension was upheld because their attempt to circumvent the wishes of the CFC board was “deliberate and premeditated.”

She said nothing would have been done if the patch had appeared on hoodies or track pants or shoes.

“But our policy is pretty clear that nothing goes on the jerseys without board approval,” she said. “We are open to changing that, but it has to fall in line with our policies and our mandate of having kids on the field playing soccer. It’s not that the board doesn’t support the idea of having a patch or a flag, but we have to be mindful of how we approach it and respect the community.

“It’s not incumbent on the executive to impose our political and personal beliefs on the membership. We have to be mindful of everybody’s needs.”

Tagle said CFC had no issue with the symbol itself, beyond its presence on the jerseys.

“The symbol could have been advertising for Chilliwack Ford or a cross or anything and we would have had the same issue,” he noted. “What is placed on the jersey, including colours, is solely the board’s decision. This is to prevent symbols of hate, religion, adverts, etc. being placed on the jersey.

“This has nothing to do with what this particular symbol represents.”

Lupton said the advocate players requested that the uniform policy be changed, with a policy amendment proposal submitted to include wearing symbols supporting social justice and commemoration, for example.

“This request has not yet been acknowledged by Chilliwack FC executive board,” he noted.

Lupton said the situation is particularly frustrating with professional sport leagues such as the NCAA, NBA, and NFL supporting the use of patches and stickers related to social justice issues.

“A community soccer club’s decision to punish players for showing support for statements that align with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and genuine human inclusion is unacceptable,” Lupton said. “The unprofessional handling and conduct of this issue by the Chilliwack FC board is appalling and needs to be acknowledged to create change.”

Laycock said CFC board felt strongly that ‘Respect for ALL’ would get a conversation started, and the board stands by their choice.

“The words can represent LGBTQI2S+ and BIPOC, but they can also be applied to 101 things like respect for your opponents, your teammates, officials, your community,” Laycock said. “We felt it was a good first step and an opportunity to grow and educate as we continue.”


@ProgressSports
eric.welsh@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

LGBTQsoccer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Business district is pictured during a traffic jam in Jakarta, Indonesia, June 20, 2019. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
Morning Start: By 2050, 95 percent of North Jakarta could be submerged

Your morning start for Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020

Highway 5 southbound lanes are closed near Exit 286. Pictured are southbound lanes at 7:06 p.m. (DriveBC)
Coquihalla Highway southbound lanes closed due to vehicle incident

Southbound lanes closed between Exit 286: Merritt and the start of Hwy 5

Masks are now officially mandatory in all City of Campbell River facilities. (Black Press File Photo)
Interior Health reports 49 new COVID-19 cases overnight

302 cases remain active; two in hospital

There are numerous ways the municipality can use the money, granted by the province. Black Press file photo.
Town of Princeton gets $1 million in COVID relief

Funds to offset affects of pandemic on municipal revenues and operations

The Campbell Mountain Landfill and other landfills operated by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen will have reduced hours from December 2020 to the end of February 2021. (Contributed photo)
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen landfills reduce hours for winter

Measures will take effect from December 2020 until end of February 2021

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Beaver Creek RCMP Cpl. Robert Drapeau, left to right, Gary Bath, Lynn Marchessault, Payton Marchessault, Rebecca Marchessault and Tim Marchessault pose in this recent handout photo near the Canada-U.S. border crossing near Beaver Creek, Yukon. A family reunion trip for the woman from Georgia that left them stranded ended on a bright note when Bath drove them to the Alaskan border following an appeal for help. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Gary Bath *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Help from B.C. man allows American family to reunite in Alaska

Lynn Marchessault drove from Georgia to the Alaska border to join her husband, who serves in U.S. military

(Pixabay.com)
Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Garage in Kelowna burns to the ground, blaze deemed suspicious

Fire crews responded to the scene just after 4:30 p.m.

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

(Ty Hainsworth / Facebook)
No injuries after fire rips through South Okanagan fruit stand

A fruit stand caught fire Tuesday afternoon, closing Highway 97 for two hours

Most Read