This week we covered Vancouver’s Lee Nguyen sending a Tweet with homophobic language to teammate Brad Knighton.
He apologized, and we took his apology and desire to do more to make up for the Tweet as sincere. But there have been recent cases — in both other sports here in the US and in soccer abroad — of stiff penalties handed down to players who have Tweeted similar things.
Hockey minor leaguer Justin Fontaine received a two-game suspension for a Tweet about the Foo Fighters with the same f-word used by Nguyen during the Grammies.
So what should the US Soccer Federation and Major League Soccer do? Should they do more, or is the way Nguyen’s situation has been handled both by himself and by the Whitecaps sufficient?
If you have any other thoughts or solutions, please leave them in the comments.
Vancouver’s Metro newspaper covers a bit more of the Whitecaps’ reaction to and handling of Nguyen’s tweet yesterday, and includes some comments from a conversation with us as well.
The Vancouver Sun also covered the incident, including some comments from the original post on our site.
Hopefully everything else that comes from what happened continues to be positive, as we all work to learn together and keep homophobic language out of soccer.
One thing, however, that I took from both these articles that I hope we can express to the Whitecaps, is that this is not a time for social media education, it’s a time for inclusive language education.
We were on a high for so much of the day since when we announced Vancouver Whitecaps captain Jay DeMerit joined our Soccer Allies list. But we hit a low at the end of the day when we saw that one of his newest teammates Lee Nguyen called keeper Brad Knighton a “fagggggggg” on Twitter.
He quickly backed off the original Tweet with a series of “jk” but the fact of the matter remains that the word was used and such language is unacceptable from soccer players who so many young fans look up to and emulate. This is the kind of thing that the English FA fines players thousands of pounds for doing.