COMMERCE CITY, CO (April 14, 2017) – Major League Soccer has suspended Goalkeeper Tim Howard three games for an altercation with fans at Sporting Kansas City last weekend. He has also been fined an undisclosed amount by the league. His suspension will begin this weekend in a Rocky Mountain Cup match with Real Salt Lake.
Tim Howard Suspended Three Games For Altercation At Sporting KC
Statement From The Rapids:
The Rapids issued this statement Friday night on the league’s decision:
Tim Howard made an unfortunate and regrettable mistake for which he is being disciplined by MLS. While this is out of character for Tim, we do not condone these actions. We accept the league’s decision and look forward to moving past this. The incidents that took place during our match at Sporting Kansas City last weekend do not represent the Colorado Rapids Soccer Club or Tim’s character and beliefs, on and off the pitch.
Major League Soccer and all 22 clubs have taken the pledge with the “Don’t Cross the Line” campaign, which is “dedicated to supporting the communities where we live and play our games, and to providing an environment in which our staff, clubs, players, partners and supporters are treated with dignity and respect.”
Everyone at the Colorado Rapids Soccer Club stands behind Tim and we look forward to welcoming him back to the pitch in the near future.
How This Affects Colorado:
The next three games for the Rapids are as follows: This Saturday at home against Real Salt Lake, April 23rd at Minnesota United FC, and April 29th at Orlando City SC.
Everyone should expect Zac MacMath to step in for Howard and play at a high level. The Rapids are having issues at defense, and this another setback for them to deal with. Minnesota could be a tougher game than one would think given they now have Sam Cronin and Marc Burch. Orlando is currently undefeated at their new stadium.
This is going to be a tough stretch. The Rapids officially have the first #NextManUp moment of 2017.
What Exactly Happened?
It’s still unclear what exactly happened. The league statement referenced “Don’t Cross The Line,” their equality marketing slogan. As of right now, Howard hasn’t been officially assigned to any form of sensitivity training. Alan Gordon was given that along with a three game ban back in 2013 for using a homophobic slur in a match. So precedent would indicate it wasn’t homophobic, racist, or something of that ilk.
A few videos and photos have circulated around Twitter. You can look them up yourself. I will not link them here, at the behest of Last Word on Sports, Inc. policy. From the Twitter evidence we have, it was general profanity and just profanity. What Howard did was unprofessional, inappropriate, and unnecessary.
One could argue however that if MLS had a policy that swearing at fans was a three game suspension, we’d probably see several of these each weekend.
Hopefully Howard uses the time off to reflect on his actions so he can better represent his club, league, and country on May 5th against the Vancouver Whitecaps.