Several members of the Portland Timbers fan group Timbers Army have been suspended by the Major League Soccer according to a report from ESPN. The members suspended have been banned from attending the next three games at Providence Park, the Timbers’ stadium.
The unlucky fans have been punished for flying the Iron Front flag during a game on August 31, which violates the league’s rules on political symbols.
Timbers released a statement explaining why the Iron Front symbol is against the rules in response to the protest staged by Timbers Army on August 23. They claimed that it’s become associated with the Antifa movement. The team proposed a solution in a statement as follows:
“Supporters at Timbers match can continue to hoist a banner or display specifically denouncing fascism while they wear a T-shirt, pin, and scarf with the Iron Front symbol on it.”
The resolution given is not satisfying because the Timbers Army has argued that the Iron Front flag promotes anti-racism, anti-fascism, and general inclusion. Being anti-racist and anti-fascist are not essentially political positions.
All this drama is as a result of the fan code of conduct. Fans and groups like the Timbers Army want a fan code of conduct that reflects and supports radical inclusion and anti-discrimination.
The issue is likely to intensify if MLS doesn’t address it adequately. Besides, MLS will face more confrontations because fans do not seem to give up on the matter. According to ESPN, the fans who were suspended can appeal their punishments and possibly have their bans reduced.