David Estrada may have scored his fourth goal of the young season and the Seattle Sounders may have beaten the Houston Dynamo on Friday, but the lasting story from the game appears to be far less of a feel-good one. Rather, it's a gay slur Dynamo midfielder Colin Clark directed at a ballboy -- that was caught on film of the nationally broadcast game. Although Clark subsequently apologized for his remarks via a series of Tweets, there's plenty of reason to suspect that this is far from over.
MLS is aware of the Colin Clark incident/apology and "conducting a thorough review of the facts and examining possible disciplinary action."— Joshua Mayers (@joshuamayers) March 24, 2012
While MLS has never punished a player for something he said on the field, other leagues in other sports have definitely taken action against players for similar incidents. The most famous of these incidents was probably Michael Vick being fined for flipping off fans while he was a quarterback with the Atlanta Falcons.
It certainly works in Clark's favor that he wasted little time in apologizing and, to his credit, sounded sincere in doing so. But given the circumstances of the incident -- a fan-generated and MLS-approved protest against racism and homophobia was staged on the same day and it was audible on national TV -- the league is almost forced to take some kind of action. A fine is probably the best Clark can hope for, but a short suspension -- one game, similar to a red card -- would not be shocking.