Major League Soccer has suspended Seattle Sounders' Marc Burch for three games after he used a homophobic slur against another player during a playoff match against the opposing Real Salt Lake team last week.
Burch was also fined an undisclosed amount and mandated to take diversity and sensitivity training, reported the Seattle Times.
The three-game suspension effectively puts an end to his participation in the current soccer season.
Burch issued this statement of apology on Friday:
"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."
MLS commissioner Don Garber said the league "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," said Garber.
Houston Dynamo midfielder Colin Clark was issued a three-game suspension from the MLS Disciplinary Committee earlier this season for directing a similar slur at a ball boy in Seattle that was caught on video.
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