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Why does Major League Soccer take homophobia more seriously than other leagues?

Seattle Sounder Marc Burch was suspended

There's a great column by Caleb Hannan at Grantland about the reasons Major League Soccer is taking on-field homophobia more seriously than the other Big Five sports leagues. While MLS is handing out playoff-game suspensions to their players for calling others "faggots," the other leagues are offering slaps on the wrists.

When a league fines or suspends a player for saying something it considers inappropriate, it's not just levying a penalty, it's also making a wager. A bet that a certain dollar amount or number of games will convince its fans and other interested parties that it takes the slur seriously.

By that logic, all four of America's largest leagues — the NFL, the NBA, MLB, and the NHL — have long gambled on the idea that their fans aren't overly concerned about players using homophobic language. The only professional league that seems to take seriously the risk that gay slurs will alienate its biggest supporters is also the country's youngest: Major League Soccer.

It's a great column and makes some strong arguments. Check it out.