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Gordon facing suspension after being caught using gay slur

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Alan Gordon knew it almost immediately after he said it. You could see the look on his face as he came to the realization that he had joined an unfortunate list of MLS players to cross the line and use a gay slur during a match.

With national TV cameras trained on him, Gordon aimed a gay slur at Portland Timbers captain Will Johnson. When Johnson raised three fingers and let Gordon know he probably just cost himself a three-game suspension, Gordon grimaced in acknowledgement of the mistake he just made.

Gordon went on to be issued a red card later in the match after an errant elbow left Mikael Silvestre bloodied, but it was Gordon’s slur, not the red card, that drew the headlines after the match.

Gordon responded after the match by issuing an apology about his poor choice of words:

“I sincerely apologize for what I said in our game tonight. Although I said it in the heat of the moment, that language has no place in our game. That is not my character, but there is still no excuse for saying what I said. I made a mistake and I accept full responsibility for my actions.”


The apology isn’t likely to keep Gordon from being hit with a suspension, which is how MLS responded when Colin Clark and Mark Burch both were punished last year after saying the same gay slur (coincidentally enough, Burch was suspended after also aiming the same slur at Will Johnson). The question now is whether MLS will take a step to increase the length of suspension in an effort to send a stronger message that such language, and behavior is unacceptable.

As it stands, if Gordon does get slapped with a three-game ban for the gay slur, that coupled with his red card suspension could sideline him for a month. That’s a long time for him to think about how he crossed the line.

What do you think of the incident? Feel MLS should increase the suspension, or is three games a fitting punishment?

Share your thoughts below.



  1. I think whats telling was his reaction to Will Johnson’s three fingers. He winced. Knew he said something that crossed the line. MLS has made crossing that line 3 games. Gordon will learn his lesson. If he could take it back, he would. He would want to whether his ban is 3, 5, or 1.

    Players don’t want to sit, and especially don’t want to sit for saying something stupid. I don’t think there is any reason to change the standard suspension from 3 games. 3 games is plenty of incentive for players to remove this term from their hs lockerroom vocabulary.

    Also, I don’t think Gordon is a bad person because of this. He said something stupid. He knows he said something stupid. He knew it the second he said it. Now he apologized, will sit three games (which is a BIG deal), should reach out to a LGBT organization, and move on.

  2. Gay slurs, just like racism, are hate crimes and have no room in society, especially sports, which are supposed to be arenas where multiple cultures come together. MLS will hopefully make a stand against this.

      • Based on your definition, then racism is not a hate crime. And Ed, I agree they are not hate crimes when directed to straight people, but what if Will Johsnon is not straight? My point was the use of gay slurs by straight men should not be trivialized.

      • I’m on board with your last point. I just don’t see how MLS can effectively monitor this type of thing. They will probably punish .001% of all the hateful things that are said on an MLS field.

  3. why any suspension? it is not a “gay slur” it is an insult from aimed at a supposed heterosexual, it may have been a gay slur at one time but as it is slang the usage defines the meaning. It would be the same as “sissy” which is no longer considered a “gay slur”.


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