The Pride’s statement said the team wrongly focused on policies and procedures surrounding signs and banners, rather than the meaning of the message. The team was playing the opening match of the NWSL’s Challenge Cup against the Washington Spirit on Saturday. The Pride have long championed LGBTQ+ rights, and there are 49 rainbow-colored seats at their home stadium to honor those killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016.
The Black Swans group’s banner was in reference to Florida’s recent legislation dubbed by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The supporters’ group said on Twitter that their sign was deemed to be political and removed.
In the fallout, the front office for the National Women’s Soccer League team said it would meet with the group to find out what happened.
“These conversations resulted in one ultimate and important conclusion: a mistake was made when the club asked the Black Swans to remove the banner that said ‘GAY,’” the team said on Tuesday in a statement.
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