Gordon suspended three matches for gay slur

AlanGordonGlare (ISIPhotos.com)

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

Major League Soccer’s Disciplinary Committee usually handles cases of infractions during games. In this instance, MLS Commissioner Don Garber decided to make the decision himself.

Garber and MLS announced that San Jose Earthquakes forward Alan Gordon has been fined an undisclosed amount and suspended for four games total, three of which are for “using unacceptable and offensive language towards an opponent in the 60th minute of the game against the Portland Timbers on April 14.”

Also, Gordon must attend diversity and sensitivity training, which is in addition to the mandatory training that all MLS clubs take part in before the start of the season.

Gordon’s suspension means that he will miss San Jose’s games against Portland (April 27), at Chivas USA (April 27), against Montreal (May 4), and against Toronto FC (May 8).

What do you make of this news? Do you agree with the punishment?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- San Jose Earthquakes. Bookmark the permalink.

165 Responses to Gordon suspended three matches for gay slur

  1. Coach char says:

    Once again MLS is setting the gold standard on how to discipline its players and how to send a message to the rest of the league.

  2. ChiTown says:

    Well done, MLS. It’s too bad these actions need to be taken.

    • AzTeXan says:

      ChiTown you have a lot of hate in your heart. I invite you to read about what’s called The Fundamental Attribution error. It certainly applies to you and I don’t think you are aware of it. You can find some information about it further down. Have a good day buddy.

      • Jamie Z. says:

        Um, unless I’m mistaken, ChiTown applauded MLS for their decision and said it’s a shame this kind of thing has to happen (i.e. that players still resort to using language like this).

        • ChiTown says:

          Mistaken you are not.

          • NE Revs says:

            The hate I was referring to was your hate for Alan Gordon. Have some compassion for once dude even if it’s for someone you don’t like. It’s allowed..

        • NE Revs says:

          “What’s the point of talking. Nobody ever listens.”

          Huey Freeman

          You can applaud MLS for supporting LGBT rights and not want to crucify Alan Gordon for potentially just making a mistake. They are no mutually exclusive things. ChiTown is doing the former while venting his obvious hatred for a man he doesn’t know. You would understand what I’m saying if you would just read the link. But I guess you can’t understand what you don’t want to believe.

      • RB says:

        “ChiTown you have a lot of hate in your heart.”

        Oh please…

        • NE Revs says:

          I’ll preface this by saying I don’t condone verbally abusing anyone for any reason, especially over race, age, gender, religion, etc. Here it goes.

          I would give players 2 games for a first offense and 3 games and sensitivity training for the second offense. The penalties would get progressively worse after each violation.

          My reasoning for thinking the punishment is too harsh is simple. There’s no way to prove Gordon is prejudiced against LGBT people based on a single incident.

          Characterizing people as “of a certain type” is seductive. It’s an easy shortcut to explain behavior. Once we’ve pigeon-holed someone into a category, we don’t have to think further about why they do what they do…it’s because they’re that type of person.

          When we try to reduce people to a type we fall prey to what is called The Fundamental Attribution Error. In social psychology, the fundamental attribution error describes the tendency to over-value dispositional or personality-based explanations for the observed behaviors of others while under-valuing situational explanations for those behaviors.

          In other words, when explaining someone else’s behavior, we assume they acted a certain way because of the type of person they are, not the circumstances they were in. But, when we dig a little further we see that most behavior is circumstantial…people do what they do because of the situation they’re in.

          Interestingly (perhaps damningly) when we explain our own behavior, we often focus on the circumstances we are in, and not the type of person we are. We immediately start describing the events that led up to our actions…we don’t sum up our own behaviors so neatly. In addition, most people don’t like to be labeled in the exact way we often do with others.

          Basically, my point is I invite all of you wanted Gordon’s head on a platter to try and have a little compasion for someone who may have just made a mistake.

  3. Hogatroge says:

    While I certainly don’t condone the language, it’s a complete shame that such a small infraction with no true impact on the game is punished so harshly.

    The suspension won’t make incidents like this occur any less frequently. In the current vernacular, the word in question is not used literally, despite the fact that it is used offensively. We simply have to wait a generation until it’s no longer a part of the way angry people talk to one another.

    Three games was too harsh for Marc Burch. I would argue Colin Clark’s suspension was merited due to the fact that he directed it unprovokedly at a volunteer ball boy who had done nothing wrong (as compared to the Eden Hazard ball boy).

    Obviously, precedent demands a sanction, but it doesn’t make it an appropriate one.

    • Hogatroge says:

      To clarify, I don’t mean the ball boy Eden Hazard kicked deserved to be kicked, but he was obviously interfering with the match. So maybe I do. I was simply mentioning it to illustrate that the ball boy Clark verbally abused did nothing to provoke the abuse.

      • STX81 says:

        Just because its commonly used doesn’t make it any less inappropriate. We can’t make excuses for employee who crossed the line. He knew what the rules are.

        It’s fleeting moments of insensitivity (intentional or not) the creates an environment that causes homosexuals to feel the need to hide who they are.

    • TomG says:

      Of course it will make these incidents happen less frequently. Did you see Gordon’s face when Will waved three fingers in his face??? It also doesn’t matter that it’s not meant literally. How would you like for your name or your background or your family or friends names or their identities to be a synonym for weak and disgusting??? How would you like to be in middle school and kids are tossing around that word left and right? How would you like everyone to be calling you weak and disgusting 25 times a day? Because that’s basically what’s going on in the hallways of our schools.

  4. alabamafutbol says:

    Just not MLS’ place to assign differing gravity to different insults/profanity. Ban all offensive language or don’t ban any. Flame away.

    • STX81 says:

      This is exactly where an employer (MLS) can punish an contracted employee (Gordon). I don’t get how that’s an issue. Let’s see how long most of us would avoid punishment (if not fired) if we got caught saying slurs our bosses had explicitly banned.

    • Jason says:

      I disagree. It’s considered to be Hate Speech, which is, for good reasons, a special category.

      • Ed says:

        A straight man calling another straight man the f word is very far from a hate crime.

        • Ed says:

          very far from hate speech**

          • john says:

            Ed, you are definitely a moron and probably a bigot. ” A straight man calling another straight man the f word.” is the VERY DEFINITION! What rock do you live under?

            • Ed says:

              Ha, no. No it is not. Hate speech is when an insult is hurled at someone BECAUSE of their race/sexual orientation, etc. If Will Johnson was gay then you’d have a point.

              Also, it wasn’t enough for you to simply make your point and move on, you felt compelled to go even further and call me a moron and a bigot. How are you any better than Alan Gordon?

              • john says:

                I called you a moron because of your smug ignorance. A bigot because you appear unconcerned by it. Hate speech is when hateful epithets are used IN ANY CONTEXT. By your logic, the Klan wouldn’t be hateful as long as they kept to themselves.

              • Ed says:

                Oh I see. Well in that case your name calling was totally justified.

                You choose to look at it in a way that basically says, “AG used a gay slur, therefore he obviously is a hateful person and hates gay people.”

                I choose to look at it that, “AG is NOT a hateful person, and has nothing against gays, he simply used an offensive and unacceptable word during a heated moment in a soccer game”

                This is not an excuse for his behavior, he’ll get his punishment, bu it’s unfair to label the guy as some hateful, bigoted, anti-gay person

              • john says:

                I didn’t “label the guy as some hateful, bigoted, anti-gay person”, I labeled you.

    • solles says:

      there’s a difference between garden variety “offensive” language, ie calling someone dumb or fat or dropping f bombs in his face, and out and out bigoted hate speech, which is what Gordon used. It’s mind numbing that so many dont see the distinction, and it’s evidence of the problem faced by our society. “F–” has gone the way of “N—–” and if you dont see than then you are on the wrong side of history.

    • Loche says:

      No flames. You are pointing at a fundamental philosophical truth as it applies to “society” which we are better off calling the state. But it doesn’t apply here. MLS is a private organization, thus they reserve the right to punish whatever word however they feel fit. Gordon is not enslaved to play for MLS and could leave if he felt this arrangement unfair. Likewise as fans we can stop watching if their rules bother us.

      Now if you mean to apply the sentiment you stated to the ridiculous notion of state-supported “hate” crimes (speech, action, what not) then you are philosophically on the money. There can be no middle ground against discrimination. Selective discrimination is a paradox, which has been pointed out by scores of political philosophers, and is the cause of plenty of distress in nation states–there can only be absolute freedoms based on private self-ownership or discrimination.

  5. reepicheep says:

    There’s no defending Gordon’s conduct, but I’m troubled by the aggressive and intrusive role MLS is increasingly taking in policing language. Next thing they’ll be fining and suspending players for thoughtcrime.

    • ChiTown says:

      Slippery slope fallacy is slippery. You really don’t understand why it was necessary to suspend him?

      • alabamafutbol says:

        Not for 3 games. I’m sorry but insufficient damage has done to merit a 3/4 game (whatever it is) ban.

        • DomDdom says:

          If I called a coworker a F****t, I’d more than likely be fired. Alan Gordon’s office may look different than mine, but his employers are far more lenient than mine would be, and no kids or impressionable people are watching every move I make.

          Proud that the MLS is making a point of racial, homophobic, et al slurs. Many leagues around the world could learn a thing or two.

          • eric says:

            +10000

          • Darwin says:

            I wish everyone would read your comment, and “get it”.

            Unfortunately, small mindedness is not rare on the SBI boards. Then again, many posters haven’t reached adulthood…

            • Ed says:

              This is ridiculous. You simply cannot compare your regular corporate office job (or whatever you do) to being a pro soccer player. Trash talking is pretty routine, accepted part of it, and certainly not part of your job. Everyone agrees that Gordon did a stupid thing, and anyone who pays attention to MLS now knows that Alan Gordon is the Worst Person Ever. MLS can’t start to suspend people over inappropriate and offensive trash talking that happens to be caught by a mic. Where do they draw the line on what words constitute a suspension? Will they suspend people to who say offensive things in spanish?

              • DomDdom says:

                No, they can’t start suspending players for every foul word spoken (and no rational person would say they should), but they can draw the line at hate speech, and they have.

                While there is little about my job and a pro athlete that is directly similar, there are questions of civility, respect and decency that can translate to the responsibility of anyone being paid by someone to act within a certain framework. The league has said it won’t tolerate this type of slur, period. AG, or anyone for that matter, is free to say whatever to whomever in their own time, no one is questioning (or should be questioning) that, but when on the field, the rules are set, just as they are for me at work. If you went into McDonalds and the cashier called you a F’ing F*ggot, you’d expect there to be some recourse would you not? It’s not apples to apples, but players are employees of the league, and this league has established a rule. Play by them while on the pitch, or get suspended for three games. Simple.

              • Ed says:

                A straight person calling another straight person a f’in f****t is not hate speech. It’s inappropriate, but not hate speech. It’s troubling that people equate this situation to actual instances of a person intentionally saying something hateful based on that victims sexual orientation.

                My whole problem with this is MLS’s policy to suspend 3 games for a petulant and inappropriate outburst that just so happened to be caught on camera

              • DomDdom says:

                So if a white person called another white person a “F****g N****r, you’d say that is just inappropriate and not hateful? Just because the person he flung his homophobic slur at isn’t gay doesn’t make it somehow less hateful. There are tons of other strong words AG could have used to voice his frustration that would have been entirely overlooked. He chose to use this word. It’s a word that needs to be recognized as a word that should be unacceptable, regardless of how people may use or view it. It is a horribly discriminatory word, period.

              • Ed says:

                The context in which Gordon used the word is absolutely less “hateful” than had he deliberately said that to someone who he knew was gay. I choose to believe that Alan Gordon is not a hateful person, and that he has no problem with gay people. He just chose an inappropriate and unacceptable word in a heated moment. You choose to view it as, Alan Gordon used the F word, therefore he is a hateful person and hates gay people.

          • Joamiq says:

            Very well said.

        • STX81 says:

          Why have any rules if everything leads to a slippery slope? 3 games is overkill but I think that’s the point. MLS really wants to stamp homophobic slurs out of the game.

      • reepicheep says:

        I really don’t see what here merits a three-game suspension. Gordon said something stupid and offensive in the heat of the moment. I’m sure hundreds of players have done the same in this league over the years. He didn’t break anyone’s leg. It’s not like he gave an interview bashing homosexuals and hurting the image of the league as a consequence.

        • XPK says:

          He was caught on camera, so yes, he did hurt the image of the league.
          A public PR incident requires a public PR response. Hence the suspension.

          • reepicheep says:

            I did not realize this was caught on camera. I still think this is an infraction of a significantly lesser magnitude than the one I described above (which would, I think, merit a substantial punishment).

        • solles says:

          absolutely he hurt the image of the league, are you kidding?

        • RAMONE says:

          Everybody does it … must be OK then.

          Eyeroll.

    • THomas says:

      Aggressive and intrusive? It’s their league…

      • reepicheep says:

        Sure, it’s their league and they have a right to police it. I’m not questioning that at all. I’m just questioning whether it’s really beneficial for the league to be so aggressive about exercising this right.

    • XPK says:

      “Next thing they’ll be fining and suspending players for thoughtcrime.”

      This is impossible and therefore completely pointless to any logical discussion of the MLS’ decision to give Gordon a suspension. Had you critiqued the length of the ban or offered other alternatives beside suspension, then you would have contributed something to the conversation.

      People are complaining about “policing language” when the GLBTQ community has had to fight the language of sodomy laws, and whether the word “marriage” can mean something other than man+woman union. The important aspect that language plays in society and culture is important and it is why language used to demean another individual based on who they choose to sleep with on a regular basis is unacceptable in many organizations and businesses like the MLS.

      • reepicheep says:

        The thoughtcrime comment was obviously tongue-in-cheek. My alternative would be to fine Gordon some reasonable amount and ask him to apologize to the offended party. I think that’s enough to signal that the league doesn’t condone his behavior.

        • XPK says:

          It seems that the worst thing that can happen to a professional athlete is to not be able to play the game they love. So if you want to punish an athlete in a meaningful way, you suspend them. Especially for a public, caught on camera incident.

    • Darwin says:

      MLS acted because Gordon’s conduct was intrusive and reprehensible.
      Grab a copy of Fountainhead and take a hike. You might need a dictionary too.

      • Joe says:

        I highly doubt he needs Fountainhead Darwin…in fact, I don’t think anyone needs it but to each their own. Now Origin of Species, there’s a sumbitch all should get behind, regardless of creationism vs evolution.

    • john says:

      Would you feel the same if he used the N word? You are as bad as Ed>

    • john says:

      Would you feel the same if he used the N word? You are as bad as Ed.

  6. Sergio of SF says:

    So is it three games or four? The headline says three, but the article says he will miss four games.

    • Chance says:

      It’s 3 games for the slur plus 1 for the red card.

      • Sergio of SF says:

        Oh, I didn’t know he saw red. I actually missed that game. Thanks.

        • Chance says:

          Yeah, he got a second yellow for leading into Silvestre with his elbow going for a header. He got his first yellow (I think) in the first half for a pretty ugly tackle.

          • ChiTown says:

            That first tackle was borderline red as it was. He could have been sent off a number of times after that.

            He had probably the worst game of his life given the results.

            • Joe says:

              That first tackle was easily straight red from my Army seats. Freaking ludicrous that wasn’t called, there was no way he wins that ball AND a lunging studs up challenge? That’s how you break an ankle.

              Aside from that and the elbow, I didn’t mind the ref making the Timbers play SJ’s game. In fact, I think it may have toughened them up. There were about 3 fouls between the two squads in the first 80 seconds, so you knew it was going to get chippy.

  7. Gordo Stretch says:

    meh. No condoning what Gordon did, but I’m not going vilify him for lashing out in the heat of the moment. I think 3 games is probably the right thing to do, as this stuff shouldn’t be tolerated.

    I just can’t get myself worked up over what he said. This may be wrong, but lots of folks use that term as more of a put-down than a charged anti-gay slur. It isn’t in the same ballpark as some racial epithets that get similar punishment.

    • alabamafutbol says:

      +1 it’s a matter of intent.. and the (unfortunate) reality, as you pointed out, is that in our culture that term is usually used as a general put-down, not as a way to lash out against the gay community. As such, with the lack of a specific vindictive intent to attack on the basis of sexual orientation, I just don’t see it as necessary for MLS to lay down the hammer like they have. It’s a one game ban at worst.

      • ChiTown says:

        You say it’s a put-down, but isn’t attacking sexual orientation? It explicitly attacks sexual orientation. The entire point of the insult is to call someone a derogatory term for a gay person as if it’s such a bad thing that simply calling someone the word itself is insulting.

        • alabamafutbol says:

          Yes it’s a put-down, but it does not explicitly attack sexual orientation. That is not contradictory. The word is unfortunately used to insult someone in a general sense but NOT always (or even usually) specifically aimed at sexual orientation.

          Similarly if you call someone a MF’er it’s a general insult. It is profane, it is unacceptable in the eyes of many (like the F word at issue here) BUT it is not specifically attacking or belittling people who engage in incestuous relationships. (Insert Alabama/incest joke here). Words have connotations aside from their literal meaning.

          I understand most of you don’t think intent factors into the equation, but my point is a general put-down and specific attack on the basis of some sexual disposition are not the same. Gordon used an unacceptable word but there’s no evidence he specifically meant it as an affront to the gay community. It’s a byproduct of culture. I just can’t see that as a 3 match ban. Guess by now they’re bound by their own precedent, but I don’t see it.

          • XPK says:

            “my point is a general put-down and specific attack on the basis of some sexual disposition are not the same”

            We all know this. The problem is that when individuals from the GLBTQ community explain that the use of the word in question in the context of this incident is a “specific attack on the basis of some sexual disposition” but you keep responding that no, in fact the GLBTQ community needs to understand that the word in question is just “a general put down”, you are the one who is not listening.
            You do not get to tell the GLBTQ individual/community what those words mean to the GLBTQ individual/community.

            • alabamafutbol says:

              No, my statement you quoted was in response to this from ChiTown:

              “You say it’s a put-down, but isn’t attacking sexual orientation? ”

              I was defending my point from his implication that it was contradictory.

              Your slipup, XPK, is that you’re looking at the reaction of the GLBTQ community when that wasn’t being discussed. At issue was the intent of the player saying the offensive language. That language may have had the effect of offending, but that wasn’t the question- The question we were dicussing is whether he had the intent to offend. He did not. You can say his intent is irrelevant, that may be the case, but it’s what we were discussing.

              • Chance says:

                He didn’t have the intent to offend? Please stop talking, because you just sound more and more stupid with each post. You are defending the use of homophobic hate speech. THINK ABOUT THAT.

              • alabamafutbol says:

                For some reason it won’t let me reply to Chance. This is for him.

                I am “defending the use of homophobic hate speech” in the same way you would be “defending violence” by saying a man guilty of assault and battery doesn’t deserve the death penalty. To argue that the punishment is excessive as to the crime is not to “defend”‘ the crime. Surely no one is so dense as to miss that distinction

              • Ed says:

                Alabamafutbol, I’m afraid he is in fact that dense. Disappointing.

        • pjsmoov says:

          Check out Steven Pinker’s research. Taboo words often loose their original meaning. Does calling some one an MF really mean something about incest?

          • PD says:

            no but you know you’re risking a punch in the mouth. why because it’s an insult. i don’t understand why we’re splitting hairs about this…

      • TomG says:

        Guys, it’s not about intent, it’s about usage. That word is used as a synonym for weak and disgusting. Every time you use that word, you are calling all homosexuals weak and disgusting. That’s the way slurs work. You’re not just slurring a single person. That’s why they’re so horrible.

      • XPK says:

        “in our culture that term is usually used as a general put-down, not as a way to lash out against the gay community”

        Considering your “culture” is not “the gay community” it might interest you to ask “the gay community” how they view the term in question “in our culture”.

        Here’s a hint:
        The problem is that when individuals from the GLBTQ community explain that the use of the word in question in the context of this incident is a “specific attack on the basis of some sexual disposition” but you keep responding that no, in fact the GLBTQ community needs to understand that the word in question is just “a general put down”, you are the one who is not listening.
        You do not get to tell the GLBTQ individual/community what those words mean to the GLBTQ individual/community.

        • alabamafutbol says:

          Was this a double post or did you just make the same exact argument you had already made even after I explained how it was irrelevant to the issue we were talking about?

          You’re correct on your points re: how the gay community perceives such slurs. But we weren’t talking about that. We were discussing whether the player who used the slur had the subjective intent to harm/defame them as a community. He did not. Anything not pertaining to the player’s subjective intent was, and still is, irrelevant to my original post, which as you’ll see dealt solely with Gordon’s intent..

          • Darwin says:

            The language in question doesn’t exist in a vacuum, so your argument of exclusivity is null.

            Some believe that the association with homosexuality began as a metanym for the bundle of sticks used to burn them. So, you can imagine why the word has remained a malicious insult.

            XPK, like myself and likely other readers, are annoyed by the insensitivity of your argument.

          • XPK says:

            The intent is what is irrelevant to the discussion, alabamafutbol. This is what I have been trying to communicate to you.
            The GLBTQ community is telling you, alabamafutbol, that the term is ALWAYS offensive to the GLBTQ community.
            It is offensive, period. Full stop.
            You do not get to tell the GLBTQ individual/community what that word should mean to the GLBTQ individual/community or how offended we should or shouldn’t be by that term.
            You aren’t the one having it screamed in your face, from a passing car, or while people are beating you up, alright?
            You keep trying to tell the GLBTQ community that we need to look at the intent behind someone using the term. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that the GLBTQ individual/community is offended by the use of the derogatory term. That continued use of the term is demeaning to the GLBTQ community. The GLBTQ community is asking people to please stop using the term because they find it offensive and harmful.

            • alabamafutbol says:

              I’m not telling the GLBTQ anything. I’m analyzing a punishment that was doled out to a soccer player. Since that is, you know, what this article on this page you’re posting on is about. I’m talking about the appropriateness of the punishment meted here, and intent is a relevant (and in criminal law the most) important factor in determining punishment.

              Do you think Gordon’s ban should be even stiffer if the person he used the language toward was in fact gay, Gordon knew it, and that’s why he said it?

              I do, and if you are honest, and thinking logically, you answer that question in the affirmative too. And thus you admit that Gordon’s intent is a relevant factor in deciding what punishment to give.

              In reaching this conclusion, I have “told the GLBTQ community” exactly 0 things. Your diatribe about their persecution, while tragically accurate, is utterly impertinent here. I understand the word offends them, and rightfully so. But in deciding the appropriateness of Gordon’s ban, that’s not the relevant inquiry- it’s his intent. Hopefully you can see this

              • XPK says:

                “Do you think Gordon’s ban should be even stiffer if the person he used the language toward was in fact gay, Gordon knew it, and that’s why he said it?”
                No, the usage of that slur toward anyone is demeaning to the GLBTQ community and that is what the MLS is trying to address with their policy here.

                IF this were a criminal case proceeding through the court system in America, then YES you would have a point about intent. But this is a company policy, so Gordon’s intent is, as it has always been, completely irrelevant as far as the MLS is concerned.

          • Joamiq says:

            The problem is that it’s the subjective intent itself that is irrelevant. That’s the thing. He’s allowed to hate gays all he wants to (not that he does, obviously). It’s the conduct itself that’s unacceptable, regardless of his intent.

    • DomDdom says:

      It may not be the same to you, but I’m guessing you’re not gay. Seriously, in a few years, homophobia will be looked at in a similar way to how racism is today, marriage equality will be this generations social equality movement and we’ll all wonder how it was that we treated homosexuals as second rate citizens. Just as there are still very racist people, there will always be homophobic people. It’s all unacceptable, it’s just taking a little while longer for society to wrap its head around it.

    • PD says:

      i don’t think we need to lynch the guy, but I do think the action should be punished in a manner that makes other folks say “you know what it just ain’t work it”.

      Personally, I also feel that

      1. if you dive and you’re carded for it you should serve a 4 game suspension.
      2. if you get carded for time wasting you should serve a 4 game suspension

      AND

      3. if you tackle a player in a card-able manner, and that player is injured on the play, either
      a. you serve a suspension that lasts as long as the recovery period of the injured or
      b. your team is on the hook for the portion of the contract that the injured player’s team is now forced to eat.

      these are things that should be done away with in the sport as well.

      • Joe says:

        Hey there, I like the cut of your jib and never thought of 3. b. as an option. That would make the most sense actually, can you imagine the Padres having to “shoulder” the 2 months of Greinke’s contract for Quentin being a jackass? That’d be awesome.

        • Bo says:

          Do you really blame Quentin charging Greinke?? It was the third time Greinke hit him in their careers. Do you think Kemp, or any other player, would sit there and take it a third time?

    • john says:

      I am simply AMAZED at the the Neandrathals on this thread. “It isn’t in the same ballpark as some racial epithets that get similar punishment.”? Seriously? There’s a scale? You should be ashamed.

  8. orga says:

    what was sports like in the 50′s, 60′s

    Violent? Racist? Misogynistic? Homophobic?

  9. Ron says:

    All I can say is that they better punish EVERY player for ANY type of offensive language (calling someone stupid, short, fat, whatever) the exact same way. The thing is that discrimination police only tend to be concerned about LGBT, women, and racial minorities. It’s the same people who talk about tolerant they are then call people rednecks. i am sick of the hypocrisy, if you want to stand against intolerance then you cannot pick and choose which group you will support and which you will attack…. Otherwise, you are not just a bigot, but you are the king bigot.

    • ChiTown says:

      smh

    • DomDdom says:

      There’s a difference between hate speech and angry speech. Grownups should know the difference.

    • PD says:

      That’s a bit of a straw man argument, don’t you think? Not really sure I’ve ever seen a soccer player call someone fat as a taunt on the pitch (other than in my pub league). I would like to think if someone was called a r3dn3ck or a w3tb4ck that would count.

      basically though, you are betraying a line of thinking that implies that you are only interested in supporting what matters to you personally, as opposed to understanding that there are things in the world that you don’t agree with that might actually still make sense. I hope you’re 12 or 13.

    • TomG says:

      People haven’t been lynched or beaten to death for being rednecks the way minorities have. Rednecks aren’t systematically raped as a warfare tactic the way women are in many parts of the world. Are you really serious in your argument or just looking for excuses to spew hate speech with no consequences? To be honest, it sounds like you’re just someone who likes to call people that and is getting defensive.

      • TomG says:

        Hey, if a kid in school is being teased and being called a redneck, it’s a problem. If the word starts being used in a widespread manner in a nasty way and people are bashing them in the media and people are getting beaten up and abused for being southerners, then that word should be banned too.

    • XPK says:

      I agree that “Stupid, short, fat” are not nice things to say. I do not agree calling someone “stupid, short, fat” carries the same culturally institutionalized bigotry as using gay slurs.

      Being “stupid, short, fat” was not illegal in all states. Religious organizations do not teach that being “stupid, short, fat” is punishable by death. Nor do religious organizations teach that being “stupid, short, fat” will cause you to be tortured for all eternity. Religious organizations are not currently campaigning against the equal rights of “stupid, short, fat” people.

      • john says:

        Again, Neandrathals. Why is ANYONE trying to defend his actions> Is it because you use those words as well? Take a long look in the mirror people.

        First they came for the communists,
        and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

        Then they came for the socialists,
        and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

        Then they came for the trade unionists,
        and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

        Then they came for me,
        and there was no one left to speak for me.

        Bigotry is not open to interpretation. If it harms one group of humans, it harms all humanity.

  10. Chance says:

    Seriously, if you think the punishment was too harsh (or worse, undeserved entirely) then you are part of the problem in this country.

    • Dissident Futbol Fan says:

      Seriously, you sound like a brainwashed, politically correct indoctrinated dweeb. “…then you are part of the problem in this country.” And what is that? The ability to think freely and arrive at conclusions that don’t coincide with today’s popular thinking?

      • DomDdom says:

        Really? How does the league working to remove racism, homophobia and sexism in any way jeopardize an individual’s right, or ability to think freely? You can think that using racist or homophobic slurs is okay, and you’re free to do so, but that (arguably) makes you a bigot. So, feel free to be a bigot, doesn’t mean WE have to like it.

      • john says:

        No, the mere fact that you argue this point reveals you to be part of the problem. Embracing diversity and not tolerating bigotry is free thinking. Your implied acceptance is a prime example of a herd mentality. And we all know what herds produce, bulls**it like yours.

  11. Sno Fro says:

    I’m not sure, but I think the TV mics picked up him saying it. If so, MLS had no choice, but to get out in front of it before the firestorm/boycotts, ect.

    • Chance says:

      It wasn’t heard on air. It was clearly seen though, as a camera was pointed at him as he said it.

  12. ConradB says:

    Three games is about right.

    • DomDdom says:

      3 games is exactly the current mandate the league has set. This is the third documented occurrence, each met with a three match ban. They didn’t need to determine how many, just if it was in fact said, and dole out the 3 game suspension. He got a 4th for the red (for those who may not have caught that).

  13. vik says:

    MLS won’t catch everything, but when it’s clearly caught on camera like it was here, it’s good to punish it. I like the transparency, 3 games for homophobic slurs, and 3 games given. Heat of the moment or not, slurs help normalize a culture of hate. It seems a fair punishment.

  14. IgnerAnt says:

    What I really like about the way this incident was handled is that apparently everyone on the pitch immediately knew that a 3-game suspension was coming, including the person who was subject of the slur. That’s a great sign, to me; it shows that the person who was subject to the slur knew he would be protected by the league, that the guy who did it knew the suspension was coming, that the suspension is serious and therefore the conduct is taken seriously. That’s exactly how it should go: the league draws a line on a serious point, the line is understood and acknowledged, and is followed through on. When the system works that way it will really have a deterrent effect and make a cultural impact on the way the MLS functions on a daily basis.

  15. pjsmoov says:

    Nothing like having a bunch of white knights on here showing how super ant-racist and anti-homophobic (a truly misused term) they are. Check out Stuff White People Like and look up “Getting Offended.” Lots of you are there.

    This is a minor incident that’s not a big deal. It will neither advance rights nor harm them. Chill with the moral exhibitionism. We get it.

    • XPK says:

      “We get it.”

      What is the “it” that you “get” exactly?

      • pjsmoov says:

        The “it” is that Gordon said something vulgar which allows posters on here to display a false sense of moral superiority. It was a wonderful moment for those who enjoy getting offended on someone else’s behalf.

        • XPK says:

          “It was a wonderful moment for those who enjoy getting offended on someone else’s behalf.”
          You seem to be implying that standing up for a community that is offended and demeaned by remarks of this nature is a bad thing.
          You also seem to be implying that people from the GLBTQ community have not been trying to explain how the use of this slur is demeaning and offensive to them.
          I’ll be honest I can’t really wrap my head around either of those implications.

    • Darwin says:

      I think the white knights on SBI believe in freedom and want people to feel free. You know, like Robbie Rogers for example, who has now talked at length about being in the grips of fear and that this brand of small-minded offensive behavior can destroy a man.

      • Loche says:

        Actually, if you loved freedom and people being free, they could say whatever they wanted. This is true freedom–it includes the freedom to discriminate. Though, since MLS is a private organization, part of that freedom is their freedom to punish people for whatever, even if they punished using the word “bread” or what not… So far on this forum everyone is a little half-right half-wrong in these regards. Private regulation of anything is completely equal to freedom as it requires equal party agreement (Gordon doesn’t have to play for MLS). The issue is when states get involved. A state has no equal party agreement, and we are not free to be “stateless”…

        It is the paradox of tolerance, as pointed out by Hoppe. Your tolerance requires the crushing of other views. There is no middle ground. Only absolute tolerance at the private level or selective tolerance (which isn’t tolerance…) are possible. As long as this can be accepted, carry on.

    • Dissident Futbol Fan says:

      Thank you! Outstanding comment. I wish I could like it a thousand times over. At least one guy on here not in the thrall of politically correct group think.

      • PD says:

        I don’t understand how anyone would wear panning folks supporting this some kind of badge of honor? isn’t that a bit like saying you know all those folks marching in selma back during the civl rights ear are just self-righteous goody goodies.

        how on earth is that something worth crowing about?

        if it’s not a big deal to you, fine. but have a little bit of empathy for once in your life and respect the fact that this is HUGE deal to other people.

  16. AzTeXan says:

    I’ll preface this by saying I don’t condone verbally abusing anyone for any reason, especially over race, age, gender, religion, etc. Here it goes.

    I would give players 2 games for a first offense and 3 games and sensitivity training for the second offense. The penalties would get progressively worse after each violation.

    My reasoning for thinking the punishment is too harsh is simple. There’s no way to prove Gordon is prejudiced against LGBT people based on a single incident.

    Characterizing people as “of a certain type” is seductive. It’s an easy shortcut to explain behavior. Once we’ve pigeon-holed someone into a category, we don’t have to think further about why they do what they do…it’s because they’re that type of person.

    When we try to reduce people to a type we fall prey to what is called The Fundamental Attribution Error. In social psychology, the fundamental attribution error describes the tendency to over-value dispositional or personality-based explanations for the observed behaviors of others while under-valuing situational explanations for those behaviors.

    In other words, when explaining someone else’s behavior, we assume they acted a certain way because of the type of person they are, not the circumstances they were in. But, when we dig a little further we see that most behavior is circumstantial…people do what they do because of the situation they’re in.

    Interestingly (perhaps damningly) when we explain our own behavior, we often focus on the circumstances we are in, and not the type of person we are. We immediately start describing the events that led up to our actions…we don’t sum up our own behaviors so neatly. In addition, most people don’t like to be labeled in the exact way we often do with others.

    Basically, my point is I invite all of you wanted Gordon’s head on a platter to try and have a little compasion for someone who may have just made a mistake.

    • XPK says:

      The suspension is not BECAUSE “Gordon is prejudiced” nor is it intended to prove any such thing. The suspension is because he used a gay slur that is offensive to GLBTQ individuals. The MLS has set a policy that language of this type, caught on camera, elicits a 3 match ban.
      I would argue for sensitivity training at the first offense as that would be most effective, in my opinion, at preventing a 2nd offense from taking place (could be considered “written warning”). If a 2nd offense took place I feel that would be the “verbal warning”. 3rd offense = fired. That seems a pretty standard company policy at most places I’ve worked (for most any issue).

      • pjsmoov says:

        “Sensitivity training.” Yippee. This reminds me of the Office episode on diversity training with Micheal using INCEST as an acronym.

        Actually, I heard that L, T, and B individuals weren’t all that offended. It was mainly the G and Q individuals who took offense. The cisgender are really bothered but some of them see this as an opportunity to establish some anti-homophobia street cred.

        • XPK says:

          I think it is safe to say that in an incident such as this Gordon one, where the person making the offensive remark realizes they did something wrong, it wouldn’t be necessary.
          I think it is also safe to say that some people don’t really understand that making a remark of this nature isn’t a common put-down. Some education on the issue (which is what I meant by “sensitivity training”) would be helpful to give some context to why the MLS policy is in place.

  17. Joe says:

    Not cool…but I laughed because I sense it was tongue in cheek. I also like Louis CK, so Chance I am part of the problem. But I sense you have a bigger ethos and more tasteful palate in all forms of humanity than everyone combined on here. I swear some people just fall for bait left and right.

  18. BrianK says:

    Does anyone have a list of all the offensive slurs that carry a three game ban? MLS was swift with its punishment for Gordon so they must have a list they refer to. Surely they must know every word that is offensive to every person? Right?

    • PD says:

      is there a point to your rhetorical question? if so, go ahead an make it, because you haven’t just yet…

      • BrianK says:

        Yes,….let’s see if you can figure it out. If you do,…you will make it clear why the policy MLS has adopted, while in some respects admirable, is unrealistic and unfair.

        • BrianK says:

          PD,

          We are waiting,….

          • PD says:

            and Brain K, you’re stalling. If you think that this penalty is arbitrary then say it, if you disagree with the list of words on the list, say so. Either way you (like nearly everyone else who b*tches about this being about political correctness) are failing to commit a very simple act of humanity, consider how another person feels and respect that that might be more important in this given situation than your own feelings. Like it or not professional athletes are ambassadors and are professionals. they should act accordingly and be held accountable when they are not. just because you disagree with that doesn’t make it unjust.

        • BrianK says:

          PD,

          We are waiting. Are you sitting their scratching your head trying to figure it out?

          Come on,….what are all the words? Are they slurs or just words? What about context? To whom do they apply? Everyone? All groups,…or just a select few? Do you apply the thin skull rule?

          Come on now,…based on your posts above,….you have all the answers.

          • PD says:

            Sorry my response got held up by moderation, Brian K. Please see above. FWIW I do not think I have all the answers, but I do know that empathy is something that is sorely lacking in this world, and that a lot of times issues like this hinge on whether or it people are willing to respect that something that is not a big deal to them is a huge deal to someone else.

            Do I want to see us living in a police state where very word is examined for the content of it’s hate? No. Do I want us to live in a society that values respecting others? Yes. Does everything that MLS (or the government, or my wife, or my colleagues) does that I support jive with what I personally agree with? NO. but in this case, folks who are dismissing this as political correctness of fascism light are missing the point and deserve to be called out. Sorry if that makes you defensive.

            • BrianK says:

              Sadly,….I can’t make my point because the moderator keeps taking down my posts which, I believe are well written thoughtful comments.

              See PD,…this is the “political correctness of fascism” you referred to above.

              Bottom line is that we must blindly follow the politically correct opinion or we will be shouted down,….no matter how reasonable our thoughts, questions or opinions are.

              Ives,…I am saddened by this. Care to explain why my posts are being removed?

        • solles says:

          why dont you explain why its unrealistic and unfair?

          • Ed says:

            Because MLS ends up only suspending people who get caught on camera and embarrass the league. They do nothing to eradicate the behavior in a meaningful way, other than remind players, whatever you do don’t use the f—— word. But then they’ll just move on to some other offensive word. What if you call someone a r-tard? thats a plausible insult that is offensive. Suppose someone says a gay slur..in spanish? Will they suspend that person? In the end its a cynical PR move, and only punishes probably .001% of offenders.

            • PD says:

              Based on that rationale no crimes should be punished because some people get away with it…

              • Ed says:

                What Alan Gordon did was stupid, but not a crime.

              • XPK says:

                @Ed -
                It doesn’t need to be a criminal offense for the MLS to have a policy about appropriate conduct for MLS employees. Any discussion of criminality is irrelevant.

  19. mb says:

    just ridiculous. now Alan Gordon is labeled a homophobe b/c he used a common obscenity towards a married, father of one opponent while frustrated in a physical soccer game. i too would like to see the list of profanities that are deemed worthy of a 3 game suspension. What if he had used “c_nt”, “b_ll l_icker”, “dirty sl_t”, or some other random “b_llsh_t”? What if he had said “Will you are a homosexual!!”? “Yankee” used to be a derogatory slur towards Americans- now its the name of a baseball team and common descriptor loved by all Americans. “F_gg_t” is on the same road. Can’t you see it now for the next KC rebranding: The “Kansas City F_gg_ts”.

    • BrianK says:

      Interesting points,….someone on this board is thinking.

      What if Gordon had said to Will Johnson,….”don’t be such a fu&$ing breeder!” Would he have received a three game ban?

      Can someone get off their politically correct high horse and explain how MLS wisdom is going to apply this policy universally?

      • mb says:

        i heard Will Johnson refused to change his Facebook profile pic to an equals sign. Also, all of the Catholic MLS players think homosexual relations are intrinsically disordered, sinful, and jeopardize the participant’s soul. they should all be fined at a minimum and required to perform community service with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

  20. Ed says:

    Based on the comments here, you’d think Gordon had knowingly called an openly gay player a gay slur. The real situation is quite different. 3 game suspension is too much and doesn’t really help anything. A statement from the league condemning his behavior, a hefty fine and mandatory sensitivity training would have been sufficient.

  21. PD says:

    Brain K, I’m not saying anyone needs to be “shouted down” for reasonable inquiry for voicing an opinion. But there is philosophical argument and there are real world applications and each have their time and place. We seem to be arguing (hostility aside) that this is an issue of identifying the criteria of deciding what is acceptable speech or not. You and I happen to be on opposites side of that line. Society has decided that there should be line. Once upon a time, people thought nothing of using the word n*gger. Oncee upon a time guys though nothing of grabbing a female coworker’s *ss at the office. Times change, and I’m sure that folks who were accustomed to those “harmless” things feel exactly as you do now, but far more folks felt a sense of release and empowerment.

    Life is so much simpler in the abstract. We can talk about what is logically fair and balanced all we want. In a vacuum, things like affirmative action and corrective actions to protect minorities do seem “unfair” to well meaning folks who have never done anything wrong but see it as some “slipper slope”, but in reality measures like this are trying to restore balance to something was unbalanced from the start. Real world solutions are messy and involve give and take, but that’s not a reason to not try.

    And really, what is given up in the process? Freedom? That’s bullsh*t. What’s given up in this instance is a means to insult someone (it clearly isn’t a term of endearment). When you live in a world with others that means making accommodations from time to time. I understand that some folks think that is ridiculous and of course you are entitled to your opinion, but at the same token I’m entitled to my opinion that you are simply on the wrong side of history about this, not some embattled bastion of free thought. My advice is man up and move on to bigger battles that are really worth fighting over, and perhaps you won’t feel so beset upon.

    • BrianK says:

      So PD,….assuming my post isn’t removed:

      Today,….people think nothing of using the n-word. I see/hear it every day on the streets and subways of NYC. It is quite common. African- Americans calling African- Americans the n-word.

      A man grabbing a women’s *ss is battery.

      Sorry to disappoint you but I don’t live in the past. But I suppose that if you say that a small select group of people are going to be protected then so be it. Don’t pretend that the policy will be applied universally,….because it can’t and it won’t.

      • XPK says:

        “Don’t pretend that the policy will be applied universally,….because it can’t and it won’t.”
        The MLS has decided that use of the word in question results in a 3 match ban. How is that policy not applied universally here? The MLS doesn’t have to decide on the use of ALL words that are offensive. They’ve decided on this one, and have been and continue to apply it consistently.

  22. David says:

    Dear everyone who doesn’t understand why this is a big deal: ask your closest lgbtq friend how they feel about it, get back to us.

    • Ed says:

      By suspending him, you’re denying the LGBT community in Portland the opportunity to boo him. This suspension is unfair to gay MLS fans.

      • David says:

        Well, it definitely wouldn’t just be gay mls fans, but these are the small prices we pay.

        • Ed says:

          Ha, indeed. But seriously the issue isn’t really about empathy or understanding why the incident is hurtful to gay people, all of that is self-evident. It’s frustrating to make the point that, hey is a suspension really an effective/fair punishment? Then someone counters with “you just don’t understand gay people and why it’s hurtful! If you don’t agree with the penalty then you’re a homophobe!” It’s a total straw man.

          • David says:

            That’s fair. I don’t necessarily feel strongly about three games being the perfect number of games, but some of the comments above indicate that it is not self-evident to everyone why its so important. I do think its important that there be a suspension of some amount because the incident speaks to the entire teams culture. A fine just hurts Alan Gordon, a suspension hurts the team.

            • Ed says:

              I see what you’re saying, but I don’t think it’s fair to say that Gordon’s actions represent the teams culture. And like you said, suspensions hurt the team for, what in my opinion is an isolated incident. In other words, suspensions should be for soccer-related offenses or genuine deliberate attacks on a person based on race/sexual orientation, etc.

          • XPK says:

            “all of that is self-evident”
            Not based on many comments above.
            “hey is a suspension really an effective/fair punishment”
            It is an effective/fair punishment because fines really mean nothing (just look at UEFA or FIFA’s paltry fines for incidents dealing with racism). I said on another thread that not allowing a player to play the game they love is the best way to discipline a player for actions the league considers inappropriate. I’m sure the league hopes that the length of the ban will be a strong deterrent so that eventually these incidents simply won’t happen.
            “Then someone counters with “you just don’t understand gay people and why it’s hurtful!””
            The reason the term is demeaning and offensive to the GLBTQ community is not self-evident to some people. And the statement quoted above isn’t a counter to “is a suspension really an effective/fair punishment”, it’s a counter to people who try to argue that the term is just “a common insult” so shouldn’t be treated any differently from other common insults. Or when people try to argue that intent is somehow a factor in whether the term is or is not demeaning or offensive to the GLBTQ community. Or when people try to argue that because Will Johnson is straight then the term cannot be demeaning or offensive to the GLBTQ community. Use of the term in question is a “genuine deliberate attack on a person based on race/sexual orientation”.

            • Ed says:

              No one is trying to tell the LGBT community how they should feel about anything.

              “Use of the term in question is a genuine deliberate attack on a person based on race/sexual orientation”

              Simply not true. While using the word in any context is offensive to gay people, AG was not making a deliberate attack on someone for being gay. This is very different than if someone called a black person the N word, for example. Intent should matter in how MLS enforces its conduct policy.

              • XPK says:

                All that matters to the MLS is that slurs such as the one used by Gordon are demeaning and offensive to the GLBTQ community.
                The MLS cares about how language like this used to insult someone else is demeaning and offensive to the GLBTQ community.
                “No one is trying to tell the LGBT community how they should feel about anything.”
                But what do you do right away after making this statement? You tell me, a member of the GLBTQ community that use of the word is “not a deliberate attack on someone for being gay”. I just told you that it is indeed an attack based on sexual orientation. That it is demeaning. That it is offensive. And you keep telling me that I need to understand that Gordon’s intent with using a derogatory, insulting, gay slur was not actually to be derogatory or insulting to me. Well, it was. It is. I’ve been saying this for days, and people still don’t get it.
                Thankfully the MLS does get it, which is why their policy is set up the way it is.
                At least the MLS is listening.

              • Ed says:

                Look, I think you are misunderstanding what I’m saying.

                I even acknowledge that “using the word in any context is offensive to gay people”

                But whatever.

              • XPK says:

                “Intent should matter in how MLS enforces its conduct policy.”
                Ed, I’m pretty sure this is the crux of your disagreement with the MLS policy. It seems your worry is that in society we can’t really expect to limit all words or phrases that people may find offensive because that is impossible. I agree this is true in civil society.
                The MLS is not civil society. It is a separate entity that is responsible for how the conduct of its employees does or does not affect their brand or their fans. The MLS has decided that language of this nature damages their brand and also does harm to the object of the slur (because the object of any slur is not only the person the slur is directed at, but all the people the slur is using as an insult.) This is why the MLS remains unconcerned about intent.
                I don’t think the MLS policy is going to trickle over into civil society (re: punishment for using the language) or that it should, but hopefully the idea behind the policy (“using the word in any context is offensive to gay people”) does.