Monday, November 12, 2012

Major League Soccer Gets it Right...Kind Of

The Seattle Sounders' Marc Burch was caught calling an opponent a "faggot" on camera during last week's playoff match against Real Salt Lake.  I've written about this before, when the NHL's Wayne Simmonds was caught doing the same to Sean Avery.  The difference is that MLS came down hard on Burch, fining him and suspending him for three games, at least two of which will be playoff games.  Meanwhile, the NHL took no action against Wayne Simmonds claiming that the incredibly damning video didn't constitute proof of what he said.  Whether the fact that Simmonds is black and had been on the other side of some insensitive comments a week previous, or that the target was Sean Avery (the RSL of the NHL for you soccer fans) played into the NHL's decision is unclear.

Now I think drawing a line in regards to trash talk is impossible, so I'd just as soon not draw one at all, but I applaud MLS for getting it right and being consistent where the NHL failed.  At least MLS is willing to send a message to any current and future LGBT athletes that they will be protected from abuse.  The NHL isn't willing to take that stance yet, and I say that well aware of NHL rules regarding homophobic slurs, and commissioner Gary Bettman's support of the You Can Play Project.  Because talk is cheap, actions matter.

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