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

A strange odour at a West Kelowna apartment building prompted the evacuation of 150 residents on Sunday morning, April 18. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
‘Do not occupy’ order lifted, residents of West Kelowna apartment allowed to return home

The building was evacuated early Sunday morning due to a strange smell

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
211 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

Currently, there are 875 active cases of the virus in the region

Vernon Search and Rescue’s helicopter team was asked to be on standby to rescue a missing hiker in Naramata. (Air Rescue One/VSAR photo)
Lost hiker rescued in Okanagan Mountain Park

COSAR, PENSAR, and VSAR worked together to rescue a hiker in Okanagan Mountain Park

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. As of April 19, more than 230,000 doses have been administered across the Interior Health region. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
More than 230K doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered across Interior Health

A total of 220,216 first doses and 13,775 second doses have been given to residents across the B.C. Interior

Size two avalanche on a cliff at Big White (Photo: Facebook/Big White Ski Resort)
‘Dangerous’ avalanche hits Big White Mountain

Big White Ski Resort is urging caution after a ‘size two’ avalanche on Sunday

Volunteers at the West Kelowna Salvation Army were celebrated with a special treat on Monday. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Central Okanagan community organizations celebrate volunteers

It’s Volunteer Appreciation Week and non-profits are highlighting the people who put in the work

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Increased COVID-19 activity brings vaccine clinic to Enderby

Registration opens Tuesday, April 20 for May clinic for anyone over the age of 18

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

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

courts
Penticton man guilty of assaulting young boys

Bryan Lamb was found guilty of two counts of assault

Abandoned Rail Brewing Company, located at 1220 Davenport Ave. on the KVR trail, has applied to the City of Penticton for a manufacturing facility and lounge endorsement. The city will review the application in their April 20, 2021 council meeting. (City of Penticton photo)
A new brewery could be coming to the KVR trail in the South Okanagan

The patio would seat up to 113 just 10 feet from the trail

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Most Read