Last night, Alan Gordon of the San Jose Earthquakes directed a homophobic slur to the Portland Timbers' Will Johnson. The result will likely be an automatic three-game suspension upon further review from MLS, and this league's zero tolerance policy on the subject should be uniform throughout the sports world.
Understandably, people will let their emotions run in the heat of the moment, but Gordon displayed a true lack of judgement. Especially when he's spending his third year in one of the largest gay communities in the nation.
Gordon released a statement apologizing for the incident via the San Jose Earthquakes' official website :
"I sincerely apologize for what I said in our game tonight. Although I said it in the heat of the moment, that language has no place in our game. That is not my character, but there is still no excuse for saying what I said. I made a mistake and I accept full responsibility for my actions."
The MLS has it right - a harsh suspension such as losing three weeks of pay is what's needed to get players to understand that you can't let your emotions go by saying derogatory statements like this on the field. Other leagues, and the NCAA, should adopt the same policy.
Two years ago, Kobe Bryant called an official the same thing Gordon said to Johnson. Bryant was fined just $100,000 for the incident and the NBA responded with a commercial on how insensitive it is to use the slurs.
That's a big amount of change to most of us, but Kobe is making over $30.4 million just this year alone.
It doesn't send a message. What does is suspending Kobe without pay for three weeks.
In a generation where we are more aware and open to the gay and lesbian community, the more we should punish those that haven't adapted to it yet.
April 15, 2013