Houston Dynamo midfielder Colin Clark has been been suspended three games by MLS for directing a gay slur at a ball boy during Friday night’s game against Sounders FC, the league announced Wednesday.
Clark, 27, will also be fined an undisclosed amount and must 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,” said commissioner Don Garber in a news release. “Colin Clark has expressed sincere remorse for his actions and I believe that he will learn from this incident.”
The instance happened in the seventh minute of the game, when Clark appeared upset that the ball boy didn’t get him the ball quickly enough for a throw-in. The slur was clearly audible on the national NBC Sports Network broadcast.
Clark apologized after the game on Twitter and did again Wednesday through a team release.
“I am sorry about what happened during the Seattle match,” he said. “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.”
An eight-year MLS veteran, Clark was the 2009 Humanitarian of the Year of the Colorado Rapids. The Dynamo also issued the following statement:
“Colin Clark made a regrettable and inexcusable mistake for which he is being disciplined. We accept and support the punishment that has been laid out by MLS and look forward to moving beyond it. We know that this incident is not a true representation of Colin’s character or beliefs and that he is remorseful for what happened. He has a strong record of being a community leader and expect that he will use this as a learning and teaching opportunity in the future.”