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November 10, 2012 at 7:49 PM

Marc Burch suspended three games, fined, issued sensitivity training for use of gay slur

burch mug 2012.jpgMLS has come down hard on Sounders FC’s Marc Burch for his use of a gay slur in Thursday’s playoff game at Real Salt Lake.

The defender has been suspended three games, effectively ending his season.

Burch, who issued a statement of apology Friday, was also fined an undisclosed amount and mandated to take diversity and sensitivity training. The left back was in line to play in Sunday’s game, according to coach Sigi Schmid on Saturday night.

The first two games of the suspension will be served in the conference finals against the Los Angeles Galaxy. The third game, if not covered in the MLS Cup, would be the 2013 season opener.

“Major League Soccer has a zero tolerance policy in response to this type of behavior from its players or staff,” said MLS commissioner Don Garber in a news release. “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.”

Houston’s Colin Clark was given the exact same punishment earlier this season for directing a gay slur at a ball boy in a March game against the Sounders at CenturyLink Field.

Zach Scott would be expected to start for the Sounders at left back Sunday, as Leo Gonzalez is still recovering from a hamstring strain.

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