Wed | Nov 25, 2020

Not in his character - Jermaine Johnson surprised by allegation against former teammate Flemmings

Published:Saturday | October 3, 2020 | 12:12 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
In this file photo from November 2015, Junior Flemmings (left), then representing Tivoli Gardens FC, takes on Boys Town’s Rupert Murray during a National Premier League game at the Edward Seaga Sports Complex.
In this file photo from November 2015, Junior Flemmings (left), then representing Tivoli Gardens FC, takes on Boys Town’s Rupert Murray during a National Premier League game at the Edward Seaga Sports Complex.
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Jermaine Johnson, a former teammate of embattled Phoenix Rising striker Junior Flemmings, says he is surprised by the allegation that he used a Jamaican homophobic slur against an openly gay player during a match in the United Soccer League (USL) on Wednesday.

Flemmings has since denied the allegation.

Loyal, who were leading 3-1 at the time of the alleged incident, walked off the field in protest around the 45th minute of play, but forfeited after deciding not to return for the second half.

Johnson, who was Flemmings’ teammate at Tivoli Gardens in the National Premier League for a number of years, said Flemmings has always been a very respectful footballer, so this allegation comes as a major shock to him.

“I know Flemmings personally and that is not him to say certain things,” Johnson said. “I trained with him for a while, and I played with him at Tivoli and he is not that kind of person and so I can’t believe this.

“I have never heard him acting like that before because he has always been professional and always goes about things the right way, so it is kind of surprising to hear that about him.”

Johnson said that this is a very tough situation for Flemmings and he should avoid social media until the investigations are finished.

“It is going to be hard for him because you know that the Internet is a bad place right now,” Johnson said. “I think he needs to stay away from the Internet and keep on training and keep fit, and stay focused and stay positive, and hope that things can come out the right way.”

Johnson said that Flemmings is a very talented player and once he is cleared of the allegation, then has the chance of playing in Major League Soccer (MLS), the top tier of football in the United States.

“I think if he is found guilty, then it will be a bad situation for him,” Johnson said. “But if he is found not guilty, then I think he can play in MLS because with the talent that he has, I think it will be easy for him to go to MLS and do well in it.”

Flemmings and his coach Rich Schantz have since been placed on administrative leave by Phoenix.

robert.bailey@gleanerjm.com