Colin Clark, the Houston Dynamo midfielder who was heard using an offensive homophobic slur against a ball boy, has been suspended for three games and given an undisclosed fine by Major League Soccer.  

The ruling comes five days after Mr Clark screamed at a Seattle ball boy who refused to toss him a ball so that he could catch it. The match was broadcast live on NBC, and the video of the incident quickly made it to YouTube. The midfielder immediately issued an apology on Twitter, and promised to lend support to a group that fights against homophobia. Today, he reiterated his apology, saying, “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.”

“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,” he added. “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.”

Don Garber, the league commissioner, said in a statement that “Major League Soccer will not tolerate this type of behaviour from its players or staff at any time, under any circumstances,” a statement which was echoed by the Houston organisation.

Last April, Kobe Bryant of Los Angeles Lakers was fined $100,000, almost $7,000 more than the annual salary of Mr Clark, for uttering a homophobic slur immediately after he was given a technical foul. A month later, the NBA fined Joakim Noah $50,000 for a similar profanity during the Eastern Conference Finals.