Supporters' group leaves Phoenix Rising FC game after anti-Nazi banner removed

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Phoenix Rising FC logo. (Source: phxrisingfc.com) Phoenix Rising FC logo. (Source: phxrisingfc.com)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A group of Phoenix Rising FC supporters walked out of Saturday's game after the franchise told them to get rid of an anti-white supremacy banner.

The group, Los Bandidos, had a banner with a crossed-out swastika during the match between Phoenix Rising and Sacramento Republic FC. It said "Stop Racism" and had other crossed-out hate symbols.

Staff with Phoenix Rising removed the banner from the stadium and in response, many of the group members walked out.

In a statement released on Sunday afternoon, the club said it removed the banner to comply with USL stadium regulations and Phoenix Rising safety policies.

"Baiting artwork, such as a crossed-out swastika, invites the most disgusting element in our society to deliver a thuggish rejoinder which has no place in our stadium," the franchise said in a statement.

Phoenix Rising said it didn't intend to have Los Bandidos members leave and apologized if the "communications during the match did not properly demonstrate our respect and appreciation for its members."

The organization added it supports stopping racism, denounced actions by hate groups and that all people should be treated equally.

But Los Bandidos wasn't happy with the sign getting taken down and posted a response on Instagram.

"This is where we draw a line, implying that racism is fine. Everyone in the club and the USL needs to think about what it is that stands for football," they said.

You can read both statements below.

From Los Bandidos:

Today, we made a special banner specifically because of the events that have been happening recently. It said "Stop Racism" with hate symbols crossed out. That was it. Apparently, the team was asked by a business partner if we could take that banner down. To which we said- if that one goes down, they all go down. At which point, we left. This is where we draw a line, implying that racism is fine is concerning. Everyone in the club and the USL needs to have a think about what it is that football stands for, they need to have a think about what kind example we're setting for everyone. To the players- we give our all to you, our songs, our banners, our effort is to help you. Values are not for sell. #LaBandaDePHX

A post shared by Bandidos (@bandidos_phx_) on

From Phoenix Rising: 

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