ball boy slur

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Mar 28 22:02:57 UTC 2012

In an incident in Seattle on Friday night, Houston Dynamo (soccer)
player Colin Clark (a 2009 Colorado Rapids Humanitarian of the Year)
yelled at the local ball boy what has been repeatedly identified in the
press as a "homosexual slur". It's rather obvious what the most likely
candidate is, but it took me quite some time--and moving from newspapers
to blogs (Yahoo! Sports)--to confirm it. Even then, the reference was
edited out.
> Angered by a Seattle ball boy who didn't hand him the ball exactly how
> he wanted before a seventh-minute throw-in against the Sounders on
> Friday night, Houston's Colin Clark called the kid a "f***ing f****t."
> The gay slur was picked up loud and clear by pitchside microphones for
> the nationally televised match (video here -- NSFW language,
> obviously), so everyone watching at home immediately knew what Clark
> had done.

Here's the video link (texted out from the quoted passage):

There are some interesting details for the students of apologies, as the
apology has been offered to the ball boy and "anyone who has been
offended". I am not really questioning the sincerity of the apology, but
I find it somewhat puzzling that even in run-of-the-mill sincere
apologies we now get standard non-apology apology language. Furthermore,
Clark offered the following line:

> I didn't mean to disrespect anyone and am sorry for letting my
> emotions get the best of me. It's not who I am and it won't happen again.

The first part is a bit hard to swallow--it's quite obvious that, at the
moment of utterance, he meant every ounce of disrespect that he heaped
on the ball boy. Furthermore, if he lets his emotions get a better of
him in the seventh minute of a 90-minute match this early in the season
(not even into the second week) one has to wonder if it would be wise to
let him play in overtime of a playoff game.

Despite the apology, Clark has been suspended for three games.

Here's the standard taboo avoidance dance from the report today. (AP and
> Dynamo midfielder Colin Clark has been suspended for three games by
> Major League Soccer and fined for directing a gay slur toward a ball
> boy during Houston's 2-0 loss at Seattle last week.
> MLS commissioner Don Garber also ordered Clark to attend diversity and
> sensitivity training.
> "Major League Soccer will not tolerate this type of behavior from its
> players or staff at any time, under any circumstances," Garber said.
> The 27-year-old apologized on Twitter and said he will say he's sorry
> to the ball boy in person.
> "I believe that he will learn from this incident," Garber said.
> Clark is in his seventh MLS season, and second full season with the
> Dynamo.
> "First of all, I want to apologize for what I did during the Seattle
> match. I had a chance to speak to the ball boy after the game," Clark
> said. "I'm sorry to everyone who I offended with that term. I intend
> to never use that word again in any context. There's absolutely no
> excuse for using that word.
> "What I said doesn't represent me. It was out of character and out of
> line. I made a huge mistake by using those words, and I truly regret
> that."

Clark may learn from this, but how will anyone else, if they don't even
know what taboo word had been used?


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