Certain words aren't used in polite company. In heated moments we all use words we wish we hadn't. What Colin Clark did went a bit beyond a heated moment. His targeting of foul and homophobic language at a minor, which was caught on national television goes beyond Kobe Bryant's and Joakim Noah's infractions. Major League Soccer agreed and suspended Clark for three games, fined him an undisclosed amount and directed him to attend a round of sensitivity training.
"Major League Soccer will not tolerate this type of behavior from its players or staff at any time, under any circumstances," MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. "Colin Clark has expressed sincere remorse for his actions and I believe that he will learn from this incident."
Whereas targeting a referee with verbal abuse is a cardable offense and racial slurs, as have popped up most notably in England, are getting stamped out of the game, Clark's verbal assault was different. It was not only an anti-homosexual statement, it was targeted towards a minor who was there to help the game. MLS came down hard. Their line is very clear now. It is now time for Clark and others to learn from the incident.
It is a harsh and heavy punishment. It is clearly not just about the language used, as there have certainly been other instances (Lee Nguyen over twitter), but also about where, when and how it is used.