Major League Soccer has handed down the punishment to Colin Clark of the Houston Dynamo for calling a ball boy a "faggot" -- a three-game suspension with pay, a fine and he must undergo sensitivity training. From MLSoccer.com:
“Major League Soccer will not tolerate this type of behavior from its players or staff at any time, under any circumstances,” Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “Colin Clark has expressed sincere remorse for his actions and I believe that he will learn from this incident.”
In the seventh minute of the Dynamo's 2-0 loss to the Sounders, field-side broadcast microphones picked up Clark using a homophobic slur toward a ball boy after he wasn't issued a new ball as quickly as he wanted on a throw-in situation. Clark is seen and heard on video picking up the ball, directing his comments toward the ball boy, and then throwing the ball back into play.
“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.”
Based on Clark's 2011 salary of $98,000, the suspension would amount to a loss of about $9,800 in earnings, a pretty stiff penalty, in addition to the fine. The MLS has a 34-game season and Clark will next be able to play for the Dynamo on May 9. He will be allowed to train with the team and use its facilities during the suspension, SB Nation reports. The punishment is an appropriate response and shows MLS means business when it comes to diversity.
Since I wrote this, I have been told by the Dynamo writer for the Houston Chronicle that the suspension is with pay, and that the fine has not been disclosed. With pay? Then it's not much of a punishment, which is why I noted out those sentence above. It's a B.S. punishment to sit someone and still pay them. The fine had better be large or there is much less here than originally thought.
Deadspin has a good look at how Clark's suspension stacks up with similar incidents in the NBA and NHL.