Major League Soccer boots Boy Scouts

Major League Soccer announced Friday that the league is ending its relationship with the Boy Scouts of America “for a variety of business reasons.” The league didn’t say whether the announcement was in response to the Boy Scouts’ decision this week to reaffirm the group’s ban on gays and lesbians.

“Major League Soccer’s agreement with the Boy Scouts of America expires at the end of the 2012 season and MLS does not intend the renew the agreement for a variety of business reasons,” MLS President Mark Abbott said in the statement.

The Dallas Morning News (subscription only) has the Boy Scouts’ response and more information about the partnership:

Deron Smith, a Scout spokesman in Irving, learned of the MLS decision late Friday afternoon and said the BSA will continue to focus on helping young men “grow into good, strong citizens.”

“BSA wishes MLS the best as it continues to work towards its mission,” Smith added.

The relationship between the Scouts and MLS began this January.

The Scouts and MLS, which includes FC Dallas and 18 other teams across Canada and the U.S., announced “an alliance” providing avenues for the soccer league to support scouting programs of “athleticism, character and leadership.”

The alliance was to provide opportunities for Scouts to interact with MLS stars, attend games on reduced-price tickets and be recognized during games for notable achievements such as earning the Eagle Scout designation.

The soccer site Goal.com notes that the MLS has supported causes such as the You Can Play Project, which is dedicated to ending homophobia in sports:

Additionally, many teams, including the Chicago Fire, Chivas USA, D.C. United and the Columbus Crew have held game promotions for gay and lesbian groups. This May, the Fire announced a partnership with Equality Illinois, a LGBT-rights group.

According to the MLS website, the league prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. The MLS has 19 teams in the U.S. and Canada, including FC Dallas, which plays in Frisco.

—  John Wright

Houston Dynamo’s Colin Clark becomes 1st player suspended by MLS for using gay slur

Colin Clark

Dynamo midfielder Colin Clark became the first Major League Soccer player suspended for using a gay slur Wednesday.

Clark screamed the slur at a ball boy March 23 after he refused to toss him the ball at a game in Seattle. He was suspended for three games with pay and fined an undisclosed amount.

He is the second MLS player reprimanded for using a gay slur. Vancouver Whitecaps player Lee Nguyen was formally warned six weeks ago after he called teammate Brad Nighton a shortened version of the word on Twitter.

But Clark is believed to be the first player a major American sports league has suspended for using a gay slur, according to The Houston Chronicle.

—  Dallasvoice