Houston Dynamo midfielder Colin Clark was suspended for three games by Major League Soccer on March 28 and fined for directing a gay slur toward a ball boy during Houston’s 2-0 loss at Seattle against the Sounders last week.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber also directed Clark to attend diversity and sensitivity training.
“Major League Soccer will not tolerate this type of behavior from its players or staff at any time, under any circumstances,” Garber said. “I believe that he will learn from this incident.”
The incident occurred on March 23.
“I am sorry about what happened during the Seattle match,” Clark said in a statement. “I have personally apologized to the ball boy, and I want to take this chance to say I’m sorry to everyone that I’ve offended. I intend to never use those words again in any context. There is no excuse for them. What I said does not properly represent who I am or what I believe. I made a mistake that I truly regret. I accept the punishment that has been handed down by MLS, and I want to learn from this incident and move forward.”
The suspension is believed to be the first of a pro athlete in the United States for an anti-gay slur in a decade.
Houston said, “This incident is not a true representation of Colin’s character or beliefs and that he is remorseful for what happened.”
The Sounders last season produced an "It Gets Better" video, part of a national campaign against homophobia and bullying.