Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber announced Saturday night the suspension of Seattle Sounders defender Marc Burch for three games and a fine of an undisclosed amount for using “unacceptable and offensive language” towards an opponent in the 75th minute of a Western Conference semifinal match against Real Salt Lake last Thursday.
Burch was captured by television cameras issuing a gay slur in Seattle’s 1-0 win that sent the team through to the Western Conference championship series against the Los Angeles Galaxy. Burch later issued an apology.
“Major League Soccer has a zero tolerance policy in response to this type of behavior from its players or staff,” said Garber, in a statement. “While I understand and believe that Mr. Burch is remorseful, Major League Soccer is committed to providing an environment in which all individuals are treated with dignity and respect.”
Garber additionally mandated that Burch attend sensitivity and diversity training, in addition to the training that MLS clubs routinely participate in at the beginning of every season.
Burch will serve the first two games of his suspension during both of Seattle’s games against the Galaxy in the Western Conference title series which begins Sunday night at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA.
Should Seattle advance to the MLS Cup, Burch will also sit out the title game. Should Seattle not advance, Burch will serve the final game of his suspension for the first game of the 2013 MLS regular season.