The lead into the delayed Sydney Derby took a dark turn on Wednesday night, with Western Sydney Wanderers active fan supporter group the Red and Black Bloc [RBB] posting and then deleting a homophobic social post.
In a post put up on Wednesday evening designed to coordinate fan movement and rally Wanderers fans, the group included the line:
“In what would be a busy week for most ESFC [the RBB’s term for Sydney FC] supporters with Mardi Gras to attend, our takeover of Kogarah is imminent.”
The post, made across the RBB’s social media channels, was quickly met with condemnation from both Wanderers fans and the greater footballing community, leading to its deletion later on Wednesday night.
The RBB post is just so sad. It's not reflective of anybody I know from the RBB (myself included), nor is it really reflective of anybody I've spoken to over the age of 12. Shits me to have those sort of posts represent where my mates and I support our football team every week.— Daniel Palmer (@userlastname) February 26, 2020
Love a bit of banter, especially during Derby week, but the homophobic statement here by these @wswanderersfc "fans" is not on.— Pete Nowakowski (@petenowakowski) February 26, 2020
Grow up. Kick homophobia out of football. No place for comments like this. #KickItOut #SydneyDerby #aleague https://t.co/BZZpuitRuR
Would be pretty awful being a Wanderers fan (or player/staff member!) who’s also a member of the LGBTIQ community and seeing this sort of alienating language.— Anna Harrington (@AnnaHarrington) February 26, 2020
On Thursday morning, Western Sydney Wanderers released a statement condemning the post “without qualification.”
“The comments made on social media channels by those purporting to represent the RBB are unacceptable and do not represent the wider views of those in the RBB, or those 18,000 members who support the club in general,” the statement read.
“The club condemns the comment without qualification.
“Discrimination in any form is unacceptable. We are and always will be a fully inclusive football club.
“The club immediately sought the removal of those posts on all channels.”
In a post made on their Facebook page on Thursday morning, the RBB acknowledged their removal of the post.
"As advised by the club, we have removed our previous post as it may have unintentionally been offensive," the communication read.
"Would like to wish ESFC good luck for our upcoming derby on Friday evening. We do feel though that an apology would be misplaced, as each and every person is entitled to celebrate and practice their sexuality as they deem appropriate.
"Now, let's focus on getting back to the family friendly atmosphere which has brought our club, and the league, unprecedented levels of success over the last few years."