Marc Burch of the Sounders issued an apology through the team Friday for using a gay slur during the broadcast of Thursday night’s MLS Cup playoff match against Real Salt Lake in Sandy, UT., won by Seattle 1-0. Major League Soccer has yet to issue a discipline announcement, but there are certain to be repercussions.
The incident occurred late in the match after Burch apparently felt that a Salt Lake player had fallen too easily inside the penalty area. There is no audio of what Burch said, but television cameras caught Burch mouthing what appeared to be a gay slur. Burch made no attempt to deny it.
“I apologize for my horrific choice of words last night during our match,” Burch said in his statement. “This is something that is inconsistent with my family values and because of that I am both disappointed and embarrassed by my level of poor judgment. I take seriously my role as a leader in the community and this is completely regrettable and unacceptable. Character matters and I hope through hard work on and off the field to begin earning your respect and trust again.”
Last March 24, in a Sounders match with the Houston Dynamo at CenturyLink Field, Colin Clark, angered by a Seattle ball boy who failed to hand him the ball in a timely fashion during a seventh-minute throw-in, used a gay slur to express his displeasure. Clark’s comments were picked up by pitchside microphones.
Following the match, a 2-0 Seattle victory, Clark posted an apology on Twitter. But MLS suspended Clark for three matches. The league also fined Clark an undisclosed amount and ordered him to 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,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said after the Clark incident. “Colin Clark has expressed sincere remorse for his actions and I believe that he will learn from this incident.”
Burch will probably learn from his incident as well.