Sports is filled with testosterone. Every player tougher than the other. Emotions run high and sometimes things are said that wouldn’t be said in a polite society. But sometimes there is also a line that can’t be crossed. And in last night’s Sounders vs. Dynamo match, Colin Clark crossed it.
In case you haven’t been keeping up to date on this story, early in the Dynamo’s 2-0 loss to the Sounders, the ball was touched out of bounds. In an MLS match, young boys and girls, usually from a local youth sports club, attend the sidelines and assure the players are fed a new ball so play can continue. At times they will throw the ball directly to the player and at times on the ground near a player. In any case, keep in mind these are children.
The return of the ball to Clark did not occur as he had wanted. The ball boy fed the ball over the wall to the ground near Clark’s feet. Clark, obviously, wanted to get the ball back in play as soon as possible. That’s when good taste went out the window. That’s when a professional sports figure became less than professional. Clark turned to the ball boy and called him a homophobic slur. Not that this should make a difference, but remember again this is a child we’re talking about here. This kind of language has no place in society, but even less so when directed vitriolic at a youth.
Unfortunately for Clark, NBC Sports was covering the match nationally and their cameras picked up the whole thing. Check out the video below.
To Clark’s credit, very quickly after the match, he apologized via his Twitter account.
“I’d like to offer a sincere apology to everyone who watched the game, especially the ball boy for whom I used awful language towards,” a post on Clark’s Twitter account says.
“I didn’t mean to disrespect anyone and am sorry for letting my emotions get the best of me,” Clark wrote in his next post. “It’s not who I am and it won’t happen again.
The Dynamo released their own statement.
“We are aware of the incident involving Colin Clark during the Seattle match,” the Dynamo said in a statement. “Colin is very remorseful for his actions, which were inappropriate and do not represent his true character. He has issued a public apology and he will personally apologize to the ball boy. The League is reviewing the situation to determine disciplinary measures, and Colin and the club will be fully cooperative in the process.”
And finally MLS has also weighed in.
“We are aware of the incident involving Houston Dynamo midfielder Colin Clark during the game in Seattle Friday night, and his public apology for it,” the league said in a statement. “MLS is conducting a thorough review of the facts and examining possible disciplinary action.”
The editorial staff of Sports Nut Media strongly condemn Clark’s actions. They were inappropriate and have no place in civil society or in professional sports. For what it’s worth, we don’t believe Colin Clark is homophobic nor do we believe he, in normal circumstances would act this way. And we do believe his apology is sincere.
That said, professional athletes should be held to higher standards and a message needs to be sent. MLS should suspend Clark without pay for one game as well as assuring he works to learn from his mistake. In days when professional athletes do the most serious crimes, MLS has kept itself above the fray and should assure they remain there.
A word to Colin Clark, as well. Regardless of the outcome of the MLS investigation, a youth in Seattle should be expecting a personal call or visit from you. Your first obligation is to make it right with him.