[Portland, Oregon, 9/5/19] The 107 Independent Supporters Trust, the nonprofit engine behind the Timbers Army and Rose City Riveters, stands in protest of Major League Soccer’s decision to issue three-game bans to multiple individuals who displayed flags bearing the Iron Front image last Saturday, August 31, at Providence Park. We disagree with the League’s stance, with its misapplication of the Fan Code of Conduct, and with its failure to consult with human rights experts in the Code’s creation.
The League’s action is particularly disappointing in the wake of recent progress the 107IST has made with the Portland Timbers Front Office on these issues. We are happy to confirm that members of Front Office have agreed to meet with us next week, along with several social justice organizations that specialize in protecting marginalized communities in Oregon. We welcome a discussion of the bans, as well as the larger issues we are concerned about — namely, how to ensure that the stadium and the streets are safe and welcoming for marginalized groups.
In protest of the League’s decision, the Timbers Army will fly no flags of any sort or deploy any smoke for goal celebrations this Saturday. Our focus this weekend will be on education. We will use banners with words instead of symbols to remind the world of our unwavering opposition to fascism and to discrimination. We will increase our written communication, both inside the stadium and online, about the reasons for our protest and the larger issues that the Iron Front flag ban represents. We will continue to fight for the League to lift the bans for individuals who displayed Iron Front flags and banners on August 31.
We will continue to insist that the League change its policy regarding the Iron Front image, that the word “political” be removed from the Fan Code of Conduct, and that the League consult with marginalized groups, representatives of supporter groups, and experts in human rights to create a fan code of conduct that is inclusive and anti-discriminatory.
We want to make something very clear: Our fight is not a fight with the Portland Timbers. Our fight is against white nationalists, white supremacists, and others that seek to bring hate and violence to our stadium, city, state, and country. In this moment of darkness, we feel obliged to rally to make the soccer community the inclusive place that the world isn’t for so many of our marginalized communities here in Portland. We look forward to working with the Portland Timbers Front Office in this fight for our community.