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

Prince Rupert’s Bobby Brown celebrated his 95th birthday milestone on March 5 with family across the country in an online celebration. (Photo: supplied by Jodi Brown)
Prince Rupert man celebrates 95th birthday milestone online

Five generations come together COVID-19 style in Prince Rupert to say “Happy Birthday”

Main door at Cranes Crossing, Prince Rupert’s homeless shelter, on March 5. Northern Health issued a public notice of potential exposure occurring at the shelter between Feb. 22 and 24. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
COVID-19 Public Exposure Notice issued for Prince Rupert’s homeless shelter

Northern Health said possible exposure between Feb. 22 and 24

Air Canada cancelled flights to Prince Regional Airport on Jan. 23, 2021 due to loss of ridership during COVID-19. An Air Canada Rouge takes off from Montreal in March 20, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)
BC Liberals call for immediate action and support for B.C. airports

Prince Rupert Regional Airport and others across the province struggle with COVID-19 effects

Paul Williams rector of St. Andrews Cathedral in Prince Rupert sits in front of the 95-year-old pipe organ on March 5. The church has put out a community call for volunteers to play the instrument to keep it fresh and operational. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
St. Andrews Cathedral pipe organ needs players to make it sing

Prince Rupert volunteers who want to practice their playing skills are welcome

Alex Campbell, Velna Nelson, Beatrice Robinson and Ellen Mason take part in the Sm’algyax Word App and website launched by School District 52 on March 1. (Photo: Supplied by Roberta Edzera)
Prince Rupert SD 52 launches new Sm’algyax word app and website

Database for new language resources stems back more than 30 years

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Most Read