Seattle Sounders FC
Supporters groups in Cascadia marked Friday’s International Day Against Homophobia with displays in the stands Saturday in Vancouver and Seattle.
Two weeks down and two to go with over two dozen players added to our Allies List. We begin week three with the Seattle Sounders.
The Sounders currently have three players on the list who all joined when asked at this time last year: David Estrada, Brad Evans, and Eddie Johnson.
As we ask players from our first Cascadia team in this campaign to sign on, who will join them? Help ask players using the list below, and we’ll be both looking out for mentions of us on Twitter and tweets using the #soccerally hashtag.
I have been on the edge of my seat waiting for the new Seattle Sounders jerseys. The last few times we have changed jerseys went from classic Seattle sports team to 13-year-olds in training bras. Then from one highlighter color to another highlighter colored jersey. So it is with fear and anticipation that I look at these new jerseys.
Seattle Sounders Shale
Now this is where the classy ladies come out and play. For our 5th season I feel we are showing our age and experience. But of course you have to pay for it. The authentic jersey has so much amazing style and great colors. The replica is great, but bland. The splash of color on the left side, love the blue and green pole. What more is there to say? Oh wait, Brad Evans. Looking at Brad on the ad campaign, whoa love it! Sweaty, sexy, rugged man in rumpled jersey delicates. Can a gay man dream for anything better? Well maybe being able to take it off of him.
At Tuesday’s training for the Seattle Sounders, defender Marc Burch took questions from reporters and was very candid about his suspension last year for using a gay slur.
He said that his three game suspension for the incident in a November playoff game against Real Salt Lake was the “right decision” on the part of the league. While he acknowledges what he did, as we all know it’s not who he is, and he told reporters his sister is gay.
Burch went above and beyond the league fines, suspension, and mandated diversity training over the off-season. In December he played with a Seattle LGBT soccer club. They didn’t talk about what happened. They just played some soccer and got to know each other. I think this is stellar, and Marc and anyone who encouraged Marc to do this should be commended.
As a teammate of Robbie Rogers at the University of Maryland, Marc Burch also addressed Rogers’ coming out, hoping that his support–such as appearing in the video the Sounders produced–wasn’t solely a reaction to what happened last year. He also spoke about gay players in Major League Soccer in general:
“I think we’ll be the first league to definitely accept it,” Burch told reporters at Sounders training on Tuesday. “I think it will come and go a lot easier than people think. It’s going to happen, and I think this is a perfect league for it.”
The final game of Burch’s suspension will be this Saturday night’s season opener against the Montreal Impact.
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid coached Rogers to the 2008 MLS Cup with the Columbus Crew, and Brad Evans shared the midfield with Rogers at the Crew. Even Marc Burch, who was suspended last season for using a gay slur on the field, appears as he played with Rogers at the University of Maryland. This video from guys close to Robbie was especially touching for me to watch.
Major League Soccer has suspended Seattle Sounders defender Marc Burch for a gay slur he used against an opponent in their Thursday night victory over Real Salt Lake. Matching the punishment handed down to Colin Clark earlier in the season, Burch has also been fined an undisclosed amount and mandated diversity training beyond the training all players get preseason.
The punishment removes Marc Burch from both legs of the Western Conference Championship and the MLS Cup or the first regular season match of 2013, should Seattle not be the Conference Champions.
Said Commissioner Don Garber:
Major League Soccer has a zero tolerance policy in response to this type of behavior from its players or staff. While I understand and believe that Mr. Burch is remorseful, Major League Soccer is committed to providing an environment in which all individuals are treated with dignity and respect.
It is encouraging to see the League continuing to maintain a high standard when it comes to keeping homophobic language off the field of play.
I apologize for my horrific choice of words last night during our match. This is something that is inconsistent with my family values and because of that I am both disappointed and embarrassed by my level of poor judgment. I take seriously my role as a leader in the community and this is completely regrettable and unacceptable. Character matters and I hope through hard work on and off the field to begin earning your respect and trust again.
We will continue to bring you developments as they come from the club and league.
Last night in the Seattle Sounders victory over Real Salt Lake, Sounders defender Marc Burch unleashed a gay slur that was caught on camera. It was captured by SB Nation Seattle:
It was also widely seen by folks on Twitter, including by Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl:
Marc Burch just pulled a Colin Clark. Verbatim.
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) November 9, 2012
Major League Soccer is in a different position now than they have been in the past. The disciplinary committee has now leveled sanctions against a player for using this exact same language. They have also released a video telling fans “don’t cross the line” when it comes to issues like homophobia, and that very ad was aired during the broadcast of last night’s game.
The League might also see differences as compared to what happened with Colin Clark earlier in the season. Does the target of the slur matter, comparing a volunteer ball kid to another player on the field? Does the scope of who heard it matter, comparing something clearly audible on a sideline microphone to something that is obvious yet inaudible.
The answer to these must be no. Major League Soccer says “don’t cross the line” and Burch crossed it. Casual homophobic language has no place in the game and it cant be tolerated in the locker room, in the stands, or on the pitch. Language like this, even from players who say they are gay-supportive otherwise, is the kind of thing that is keeping athletes in the closet.
And Marc Burch appears to be far from a homophobic person. A commenter on SB Nation says he received a Facebook message from Burch, saying he doesn’t recall using those words and apologizing as he has a lesbian family member himself.
But actions have consequences and even in this hectic playoff season, this incident needs to be addressed by the league.
We have been told to expect a statement from the Seattle Sounders sometime today, and will bring that and any action from the league to you as it happens. SB Nation Seattle has a good open letter to Burch on their page.
The touring production of Broadway’s Wicked is in Seattle right now, and soccer must be popular in the other Emerald City because even the Wizard is declaring his support for the Sounders.
After a tough weekend battle in Portland against a team that put in the intensity of a cup final the Seattle Sounders turn around and face another opponent that will not say die so easily – the San Jose Earthquakes. In what could potentially be a preview of the semi-finals, #1 ranked San Jose will visit #2 ranked Seattle on Saturday for the final time during the regular season.
The Quakes are coming off of a seemingly unstoppable run, if they beat Portland on Wednesday, they will have won their 5 previous matches. And while the Sounders are on a similar run – their last defeat came at the hands of San Jose in August. These teams have a way of getting under each other’s skin when they play – while this is typical of San Jose, they’re used to Steven Lenhart throwing opponents off their game, what they never get used to is that Seattle does it to them as well. Looking back on the 1-0 loss that the Sounders gave San Jose during Open Cup play, you see a strong team that can be equally as shaken when someone takes an agressive stance with them.