Dynamo midfielder Colin Clark figuratively put his foot in his mouth last night during the match against the Sounders. After a ball boy on the near sidelines dropped the ball over the ad boards instead of giving it directly to Clark, he inexplicably chastised the individual with a gay slur.
Clark took to Twitter this morning to apologize for his actions, including an interaction with Gay4Soccer.
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.— Colin Clark (@cOlin_cLark7) March 24, 2012
I didn't mean to disrespect anyone and am sorry for letting my emotions get the best of me. It's not who I am and it won't happen again.— Colin Clark (@cOlin_cLark7) March 24, 2012
This is an ugly incident, a stupid decision on Clark's part and something that I hoped I would never have to write about concerning a Dynamo player. While I don't believe the Twitter apologies are nearly enough, it's a start and more importantly, it's a sign that Clark is not going to attempt to hide from this incident. That's a good first step and it's hopefully a sign that Clark is going to do whatever it takes to properly deal with his actions.
I would expect he'll make some kind of public statement and hopefully he will reach out to the Sounders in an attempt to make a personal, non-public apology towards the ball kid he made the slur towards.
MLS is aware of the incident and released this statment today:
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. MLS is conducting a thorough review of the facts and examining possible disciplinary action
The Dynamo released this statement today as well:
We are aware of the incident involving Colin Clark during the Seattle match. 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.
There is a call from many for MLS to make a stand on this incident and punish Clark for his actions. I couldn't agree more, because something must be done in this case. No matter how much remorse Clark has and shows, a lack of reaction by the league would send a really bad message. This is a chance for MLS to send a loud and clear statement to players, coaches and staffs that hate speech of any kind, under any circumstances, is not going to be tolerated. MLS needs to properly deal with this incident to show its increasingly progressive fan base that it will not allow any behavior of this nature to occur, especially on the field of play.
I think it's also important for fans to give this situation a chance to develop. Screaming on social media for action, isn't going to make things happen any quicker. We know this was unacceptable, we know this cannot be tolerated, but we also have to accept that it's going to take a few days for everything to work itself out. Let's be pleased with Clark's quick initial apology and see what happens in the coming days. If there is an attempt by the player, team and/or league to somehow sweep this under the rug, we will react appropriately.
In the end this needs to be a learning experience for all us. We all get angry, we all say things in the heat of the moment we regret. This should be a reminder that everything we say has repercussions and that a single word can carry a tremendous amount of weight. It's unfortunate that this happened, it's completely unacceptable, and hopefully the league will take the appropriate action. More importantly, let's hope that Colin Clark and his teammates learn an important lesson from this incident.