It’s time to reveal the second of our End of the Season Awards, for the individual who is the Most Musical of 2012.
Congratulations to everyone who was nominated by our great gay4soccer readers: Kyle Beckerman, Joe Cannon, Jordan Harvey, Alexi Lalas, Stephen McCarthy, Erin McLeod, Heath Pearce, Megan Rapinoe, and Pia Sundhage.
But the winner of the Most Musical of 2012 is…
Congratulations are due to USWNT midfielder Megan Rapinoe, who was honored by the LA Gay and Lesbian Center at their Anniversary Gala this past weekend.
Rapinoe was the recipient of the Center’s Board of Directors Award for coming out as a high-profile athlete and for representing the USA as of the few out competitors at this past summer’s Olympic Games.
Fellow Olympian Lori Lindsey and other teammates joined Megan at the gala, and David Beckham sent greetings via video.
Here are Megan Rapinoe’s remarks upon receiving the award, which are very sweet and poignant. And she includes a great story about Lori Lindsey encouraging her to come out.
(Image from Amy LePeilbet’s Twitter feed)
The time is here to reveal the winner of the first 2012 End of the Season Award, being presented to the Most Artistic of the year.
To recap, the nominees for this award are Prairie Rose Clayton, Jay DeMerit, Ashlyn Harris, Amy LePeilbet, Lori Lindsay, and Brek Shea. Congratulations to all of the nominees!
But the winner of the Most Artistic of 2012 is…
Nominees for Story of the Year are Eddie Johnson’s comeback, Megan Rapinoe coming out, Sporting KC’s US Open Cup win, the USMNT win in Italy, the USMNT win in Mexico, the USWNT’s Gold Medal win, and Chris Wondolowski’s record season.
Ally of the Year nominees are Brian Dunseth & Chris Wingert; Mike Chabala, Chris Pontius & Ben Olsen; The Chicago Fire; Jimmy Conrad; Mike Boxall, Jay DeMerit & Jordan Harvey; Kyle Martino; Amobi Okugo; AJ Soares; The Timbers Army; and the You Can Play Project.
Thank you for all of your votes so far; you can keep voting in other categories here. Tomorrow we begin revealing award winners, all the way until MLS Cup.
Another United States college has released a You Can Play video, and it has a special connection with the You Can Play Project.
Students at Maine’s Bowdoin College have come together for the video, organized by Molly Burke, whose brother Brendan was the inspiration for You Can Play. Brendan Burke was the student manager of the Miami University of Ohio hockey team, and he came out to ESPN in 2009 before being tragically killed in an auto accident the following year.
The new video from Bowdoin College includes athletes from all of the Polar Bear teams, including members of the soccer program.
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.
We’re tripling up again today with three categories in the End of the Season Awards: Cutest Couple, Most Likely to Change the World, and Poster Model for American Soccer Being Awesome.
What romantic pairing makes you go aww? (Sorry, all of you who nominated Dax and Heath. We said actual couples only.) Whose looking out for their fellow human beings impresses you as much as their performance on the pitch? Who do you think exemplifies why soccer in America rocks?
Cutest Couple nominees are Jay DeMerit & Ashleigh McIvor, Stu Holden & Karalyn West, Kyle Martino & Eva Amurri Martino, and Megan Rapinoe & Sarah Walsh.
Most Likely to Change the World Nominees are Jeb Brovsky, Landon Donovan, Mike Lahoud, Alex Morgan, Darlington Nagbe, Megan Rapinoe, Chris Seitz, and Taylor Twellman
Nominees for Poster Model for American Soccer is Awesome are Jimmy Conrad, Clint Dempsey, Steven Lenhart, Lee Nguyen, Heath Pearce, Chris Pontius, Megan Rapinoe, Abby Wambach, and Chris Wondolowski.
Thanks again for all your votes. All categories are still open here.
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.