We were on a high for so much of the day since when we announced Vancouver Whitecaps captain Jay DeMerit joined our Soccer Allies list. But we hit a low at the end of the day when we saw that one of his newest teammates Lee Nguyen called keeper Brad Knighton a “fagggggggg” on Twitter.

He quickly backed off the original Tweet with a series of “jk” but the fact of the matter remains that the word was used and such language is unacceptable from soccer players who so many young fans look up to and emulate. This is the kind of thing that the English FA fines players thousands of pounds for doing.

Nguyen has since apologized and taken down the offending tweet, and we can only hope he is more judicious in his language in the future and takes some time to talk to some of his teammates and supporters who are allied with the GLBT community about how such language is hurtful and offensive, no matter its intent. We would love to talk to Lee and the Whitecaps about the incident, and we’re sure that with some education Lee can become an ally himself as well all work together to eliminate hate speech from soccer.

(Updated 7:20 PM CT)

Lee sent us a few very sincere tweets of apology, and he is open about having no excuse for his word choice. We hope we can work with him and the ‘Caps to make this a learning experience for Lee and hopefully many others.

(Updated 8:00 PM CT)

The Vancouver Whitecaps released this statement:

Earlier today, two Whitecaps players engaged in an exchange on Twitter that the club considered unacceptable. The players involved acted swiftly to remove the tweets on their own accord.  We believe that the involved players are both sincere in their regret, and in their apologies.  The club has issued the players a formal warning.

- Bob Lenarduzzi, Whitecaps FC president

WhitecapsFC.com