Monday, March 26, 2012

A Disappointed Soccer Fan

It's no secret: the Houston Dynamo is my favorite sports team. When you take the chance to know me I will bring that fact up, it's that important to know. And I love that team not just because they won the Cup twice or because they were at the finals last year or because they are always going to the playoffs, but because they are always contributing to the community. Every year one of the players has a charity going on and every year the team invites top tier international teams to play with them with all the proceeds going to a charity of their choosing. I know right? This team is amazing! Not only are they one of the best teams in the MLS but they are active in their community. They have even been sponsors and supporters of Houston's GLBT Political Caucus. I should be proud to wear this teams jersey wherever I go! But then I stumbled upon this:
(I am actually relieved that there aren't many negative comments)

I then went to their club website to see what the team thought and saw nothing that addressed this issue. I was devastated. For the first time I now have something negative to say about my team. But I mean I should expect it right? That kind of stuff happens all the time in the sports world. Well that doesn't mean it's wrong, despicable and insensitive.

Sports in general are known to showcase human virility; thus it is logical to assume that the worst insults in the sports world are adjectives that belittle masculinity. Terms like pussy, sissy, homo, and fag are just spewed incessantly on the field and in the locker room. This has to stop. Children and people look up to these players and anything they say and do is an action of god. Athletes should be aware of their influence and refrain from setting bad examples. Unfortunately as shown by the Houston Dynamo's Colin Clarke the latter statement is often ignored. The article from the MLS page makes it seem like Clarke will only get a slap in the wrist. Clarke needs to be suspended and fined by the MLS for his slur.

Homophobic players make it difficult for queer folk to one day live their dreams and become professional players. As an organization the MLS and other sports teams need to make it clear that heterosexism and homophobia within their organizations is NOT TOLERATED! Literally the eyes of millions are upon a single player and his actions will resonate throughout.

Luckily there is hope! Several hockey professionals have voiced their concerns over the mistreatment of LGBT athletes. NHL professionals lent their faces to a PSA by the You Can Play Project aired during a popular match-up. The steps these athletes have taken are what others need to follow and what the virtues the Houston Dynamo needed to sustain. The casual homophobia practiced by players  like Colin Clarke is the reason why there are no open gay players in men's sports. I am extremely disappointed in my team for the way they seem to be addressing the situation. This is not the team that I fell in love with. This is not the team that was always giving to their city and community. Get your act back together Houston Dynamo.

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