Moments after suffering a foul at the hands of Portland Timbers defender Futty Danso, San Jose Earthquakes forward Alan Gordon took exception to some gamesmanship from Will Johnson and directed a gay slur at the Timbers midfielder.
The incident was captured on camera, and Deadspin.com highlighted the slur in a video posted on its website. Johnson responded to Gordon's discriminatory comment by flashing three fingers -- the length of suspension Seattle Sounders defender Marc Burch received from MLS for a similar incident during the playoffs last season. Johnson, at the time a member of Real Salt Lake, coincidentally was also the target of Burch's derogatory comment in that November 8 match.
Shortly after the match, when he was not made available to the media for comment, Gordon issued the following statement regarding his use of the gay slur during Sunday's match against the Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field:
"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."
Gordon also received a second yellow card in the match and was ejected in the 69th minute. He is likely to receive a 4 to 5 total games suspension from the MLS Disciplinary Committee for both the red card and the homophobic slur.
Update: On Monday, Earthquakes club president Dave Kaval released a statement regarding the inappropriate language used by Gordon.
"We are working hand in hand with the league right now on this very serious matter. Alan's comments do not reflect the views or beliefs of our organization. We have always promoted an atmosphere of acceptance and equality in our stadium and amongst our diverse and passionate fans.
"I am appalled by the use of the hurtful language on the pitch last night. We will use the collective energy and resources of our club to foster an inclusive environment for all of our fans. I hope to use this deplorable incident as a tool to help eradicate offensive language of this kind.
"For our fans, I know the organization has let you down. I will do my best to take the necessary actions to make sure we once again can be viewed as a beacon of diversity, community, and equality."