Seattle's Burch issues public apology for homophobic slur

Marc Burch

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Seattle Sounders defender Marc Burch issued a statement on Friday following his apparent use of a homophobic slur in the second leg of the Western Conference semifinals, apologizing for an incident that could potentially lead to a suspension from the MLS Disciplinary Committee.

Burch was shown on the NBC Sports Network's telecast directing the slur toward Real Salt Lake midfielder Will Johnson in the 75th minute of Seattle’s 1-0 win at Rio Tinto Stadium on Thursday night.

"I apologize for my horrific choice of words last night during our match,” Burch said in the statement. “This is something that is inconsistent with my family values and because of that I am both disappointed and embarrassed by my level of poor judgment.

“I take seriously my role as a leader in the community and this is completely regrettable and unacceptable. Character matters and I hope through hard work on and off the field to begin earning your respect and trust again."

Houston Dynamo midfielder Colin Clark was issued a three-game suspension from the Disciplinary Committee earlier this season for directing a similar slur at a ball boy in Seattle that was caught on video.

The Sounders return to action in the first leg of the Western Conference finals against the LA Galaxy at the Home Depot Center on Sunday (9 pm ET, ESPN, live chat on MLSsoccer.com). A suspension similar to Clark’s would mean that Burch would miss both legs of the conference finals and MLS Cup, if the Sounders were to advance.

Burch, 28, joined the Sounders during the 2011 Re-Entry Draft and appeared in 29 matches this season, earning 19 starts and matching his career high with three assists.