NWSL identifies and bans fan who made racist taunts toward Adrianna Franch

Ben WeinribYahoo Sports Contributor
Utah Royals FC goalkeeper Adrianna Franch was the subject of racist taunts on Sept. 6. (Howard Smith/Getty Images).
Utah Royals FC goalkeeper Adrianna Franch was the subject of racist taunts on Sept. 6. (Howard Smith/Getty Images).

The National Women’s Soccer League tracked down and banned a fan who made racist taunts toward one USWNT and Portland Thorns goalkeeper Adrianna Franch.

On Sept. 6, fans reported that a fan at a Utah Royals game used the n-word when yelling at Franch. Utah denounced the fan and ultimately found them on Saturday.

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Utah spurred the investigation, marking another instance of the ownership group stepping up in the face of intolerance.

Owner Dell Loy Hansen, who also owns Real Salt Lake, has been quick to condemn this behavior. On Aug. 11, RSL fired head coach Mike Petke after he repeatedly made homophobic slurs against referees. Three weeks later, the club asked a family to put away a flag that has been associated with white supremacists.

Considering the scope of racist behavior across sports and countries, the commitment to an inclusive fan experience is commendable.

NWSL players speak out against racism

Players were quick to call out the ill behavior after the game, especially considering how many players have faced similar conduct. Utah Royals players did not shy away from admonishing their fans as well.

Racism continues to be a problem at soccer games

Players in nearly every sport have reported racist behavior from fans, but soccer in particular seems to have an unruly amount of abominable behavior. And it’s hardly limited to the United States.

Earlier this month, Romelu Lukaku faced racist chants from Calgiari fans, who have had embarrassing racist incidents each of the last four years. From booing and making monkey noises whenever black players touch the ball to yelling racial slurs and throwing bananas, the problems are widespread and deflating.

Players have become more vocal in opposition to this behavior, and leagues have publicly said that they’re against it. But many of the leagues have not put much teeth into their penalties, which spotlights Utah and the NWSL’s decisiveness in this instance.

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