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'Banned for Life'

MLS Commish Don Garber issued the following statement in regard to the racial epithet directed at New England's Kheli Dube by a Columbus fan two weeks ago:

"MLS and the Columbus Crew are working diligently with all relevant authorities, including Club Supporters Groups, to identify the spectator involved. In the event the perpetrator is identified, he will be banned for life from Crew stadium and all other MLS stadiums and events. MLS takes enormous pride in our commitment to racial and ethnic diversity and inclusiveness - in our stadiums, on our fields, and in our administrative, coaching and ownership ranks. We categorically will not tolerate this language in any context or setting and are working with all of our clubs and stadiums to ensure that this isolated incident is not repeated."

By Steve Goff  |  June 4, 2008; 7:15 PM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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Comments

Holy crap! an ULTIMABAN!!!

Posted by: Fisty | June 4, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely appropriate, after all Obama will be our next prez and the last thing we want is racist Crew fans making him feel uncomfortable at our home matches!

Posted by: Andy In Asheville | June 4, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Good for him. My guess is that they will fail to identify the person, but I think it is important for the word to come from the very top that this behavior is not acceptable. I wish Garber had said it the day after the incident, but better late then never.

Posted by: Wyrm2 | June 4, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Given the diversity of the DC United supporter groups, you can bet that will never happen here.

Posted by: seahawkdad | June 4, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse

While not quite the same as Columbus, I have heard dumbasses in DC say dumb things. I've called out and confronted some on it.

Posted by: sitruc | June 4, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

What about the people throwing bottles? Shouldn't be an equal punishment?

Posted by: moreno4prez | June 4, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

If they can not find the offender that means the Supporters Groups are protecting him.

Columbus is NOT a big town. Someone has to know this guy. If they won't turn him in, ban the Columbus supporters groups for a couple of games and dock the Crew 3 pts to send a strong message that protecting people like this will cost your team.

Posted by: Cowtown Uprising | June 4, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

It is true. Columbus is super small and the number of hard core soccer fans is even smaller. I moved away 10 years ago but when I went back for the US Mexico game a few years back, I still knew two of the people sitting in just the row behind me. Crew games are like high school football games in that everyone knows everyone else.

If they can't find this person, it is because people aren't talking.

Posted by: Former Crewgrrl | June 4, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

just ban columbus from having a team and move the Crew to Montreal.

Posted by: satan | June 4, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Columbus is NOT a big town.
==========================================

Columbus has a population of over 730,000, far more than Baltimore or Washington. However, as a subsequent poster has noted, the Columbus soccer community is probably relatively compact.

Posted by: tri-village | June 4, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

This is good, this is one thing we don't need to bring from Europe or South America.

Posted by: Abu Samra | June 4, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

It's the right thing to do to ban this guy, but how do you really implement such a ban? How would anyone ever know if he showed up at RFK for example?

Posted by: Glenn | June 4, 2008 10:05 PM | Report abuse

What this guy said was wrong. Denounce it and move on. But the lifetime ban makes Garber and the league look silly. Just how is the league going to enforce this ban.

The crack staff at RFK can't even make sure people sit in the right seats. Now Garber is telling us that they will have surveillance at all the games to make sure this bozo can't get in. Give me a break.

What about all the people around him that had no problem with what he said. Do they get 5 match bans.

Posted by: Tommie | June 4, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if it is possible to keep one random jerk out of games, but it is important to show that this is not allowed or condoned at MLS games. If you feel the need to take out your frustrations on life you can do that at other venues or "social clubs".

Posted by: Abu Samra | June 4, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Individuals have been "banned" from stadiums in other leagues in the US. I just don't believe anyone has been banned from an entire league.

Can it be enforced? Hard to do, you can take away their season ticket(s), block any ticket purchases with their credit cards. In reality it just sounds good in a PR kind of way.

Posted by: DCM | June 4, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

I met a guy once who was banned for life from Giant's stadium for his behavior at (then) Metrostars games. I couldn't tell you how it was enforced but my understanding is that he stopped going to the games.

Posted by: Former Crewgrrl | June 4, 2008 10:26 PM | Report abuse

The Crew Supporters and Columbus media have done absolutely nothing to find this guy who stood in the midst of 1,000 people while others videotaped it. Good luck to Columbus finding players who wish to play in such an environment.

Posted by: Mike R | June 4, 2008 10:28 PM | Report abuse

what? Isn't Columbus the largest city in Ohio?

Posted by: fdt | June 4, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

This is easy. If no one is found, punish the supporters group as a whole. I'm sure supporter gropus pay some soard of money for that section or to get in the stadium. Block off their section or don't let them in until they turn in that person, no money back. If not take it to an extreme and hold closed door matches until someone is turned in. FIFA and other leagues have gone as far as media only games.

Posted by: dcchilidog | June 4, 2008 10:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm white and my wife is black. Our baby daughter is mixed and so beautiful it hurts a person's eyes. We all have season tickets to the Sounders FC 2009, season and I'll be damned if I let something like this go unchallenged at Qwest Field.

I don't care if I end up getting beat down, I will stand up to racism no matter what the odds. America is better than this and I bet 99% of MLS fans think so too.

To the fans in Columbis that witnessed this atrocity, I give you Thomas Jefferson, who said, "He who does not punish evil, permits it to be done." That's right, any Columbus fans who were sitting next to the responsible party, and did nothing, are as guilty as if they said these things themselves...

Posted by: Gary B. | June 4, 2008 11:01 PM | Report abuse

i'm very pleasantly surprised that Garber took this strong of a stance. this incident was obviously unacceptable, but it seemed like for a while MLS was in full-on damage control mode.

Posted by: dcjonesy | June 4, 2008 11:31 PM | Report abuse

I applaud Garber and the league for the stance they took on this horrible, situation, it is disgusting that people are this low. The message sent to others is one of the most important things in this situation. We should be way past racism.

Posted by: River City Kid | June 4, 2008 11:52 PM | Report abuse

...uh, Thomas Jefferson had slaves. Probably not a good guy to quote here.

Personally, I think this clown's words were wrong, but no worse than some of the non-race-related things United fans say. If someone told Abby Olojuan (sp?) that he has a girl's name (gender), or Pat Onstad that he needs a cane (age), the outcry would be non-existant compared to a racial insult.

Posted by: Glaucon | June 5, 2008 12:12 AM | Report abuse

To the fans in Columbis that witnessed this atrocity, I give you Thomas Jefferson, who said, "He who does not punish evil, permits it to be done." That's right, any Columbus fans who were sitting next to the responsible party, and did nothing, are as guilty as if they said these things themselves...

Posted by: Gary B. | June 4, 2008 11:01 PM

I approve, but that's a pretty amusing sentiment coming from a slave owner and rapist.

Posted by: viv | June 5, 2008 12:17 AM | Report abuse

I really don't think "age discrimination" or the spelling of a person's name is the same as racial epithets in the United States. Just a guess.

Posted by: Abu Samra | June 5, 2008 2:08 AM | Report abuse

MLS committed to inclusiveness? Why is CD Guadalajara(only Mexicans need apply) invited to Superliga?

Posted by: UnitedFan | June 5, 2008 6:49 AM | Report abuse

This is a largely symbolic gesture. It's just a warning shot for future games. Not a bad idea from the league, it just should have come sooner.

Posted by: DirtyHarry | June 5, 2008 7:12 AM | Report abuse

The Crew Supporters and Columbus media have done absolutely nothing to find this guy who stood in the midst of 1,000 people while others videotaped it. Good luck to Columbus finding players who wish to play in such an environment.

Posted by: Mike R | June 4, 2008 10:28 PM
------------------------------------

You're highly ignorant of the situation, aren't you? The leaders of the supporters groups have been working with the Crew FO to identify this person. Normally, there have been around 300 people in the Crew supporters section; for the NE match there were around 1200-1500. And the metropolitan population here is about 1.5 million. So, no, I'm not always bumping into old chums from elementary school on my evening stroll around the village green. Some stray jerk said something vile in the Crew supporters section. On a film that he, or someone next to him, shot, those comments were caught on audio. Thia was posted on the Internet. The growth of the supporters section this season has been terrific. The leaders of supporters groups that I've met do not know this person, are disgusted by his actions, and want him found and banned.

Posted by: Doug | June 5, 2008 7:43 AM | Report abuse

All this energy to find "some guy" who was caught saying a forbidden word on youtube.

Where was all this moral outrage when the league schedules games during the world cup. Is catching this moron more important than the legitimatcy of our league?

Soccer fans unite. Lets demand Garber to ban the racist and fix the schedule.

To a former poster: I don't think Visa has racist look-up table that they check before selling products. Not in America anyway. Maybe in some state controlled economies.

Posted by: Bigger fish to fry | June 5, 2008 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Bigger fish to fry,

Maybe Garber's banking on an Obama presidency. . . .

Posted by: JM | June 5, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I'm white and my wife is black. Our baby daughter is mixed and so beautiful it hurts a person's eyes. We all have season tickets to the Sounders FC 2009, season and I'll be damned if I let something like this go unchallenged at Qwest Field.

I don't care if I end up getting beat down, I will stand up to racism no matter what the odds. America is better than this and I bet 99% of MLS fans think so too.
=========================================

I hope your method of challenging it is to involve stadium security, rather than trying to handle it yourself.

Posted by: tri-village | June 5, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

A manhunt and life ban for offensive speech, but no effort to apprehend those who physically endangered the Revs players by throwing batteries and full water bottles.

Posted by: OWNTF | June 5, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

It's the right thing to do to ban this guy, but how do you really implement such a ban? How would anyone ever know if he showed up at RFK for example?

Posted by: Glenn | June 4, 2008 10:05 PM

Yep - these bans are largely symbolic - but I think they are the right idea. It sends a message. I know that in the UK, there have been tons of these bans placed on "fans", but they are impossible to enforce. With the offending parties turning up at home and away matches regularly.

Still, excluding that person from season ticket benefits and other club related communities is punishment. But who knows - the guy could have been some yahoo that didn't really care about the club and league that much.

Posted by: Kev | June 5, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

A manhunt and life ban for offensive speech, but no effort to apprehend those who physically endangered the Revs players by throwing batteries and full water bottles.

Posted by: OWNTF | June 5, 2008 10:13 AM

You need to get some perspective man. All language must be controlled.

Posted by: Streamer loving Big Brother | June 5, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I know of certain people that have been "banned" from the Meadowlands and that doesn't stop them from returning.

While this is all about the league taking a stand against such language, the only way this will be enforced is if fellow fans continually "out" this guy whenever he shows up at a MLS stadium.

Posted by: Tweaked | June 5, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Docking points from a team would be absurd. If this eventually happens, there will be thousands of fans (ok, hundreds) willing to sacrifice their right to attend games if they too can throw bananas dressed up as opposing teams fans. Think about it. Lets say Im a NE fan (thank god im not), but I go to Columbus dressed as a Crew fan. I throw bananas at all the Africans on the pitch. I get banned for life from MLS, and the Crew gets docked 3 points in the standings, pushing them lets say OUT of the playoffs? or at least out of 1st place pushing NE up into 1st place? Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. And all it would take is ONE fan to throw bananas? One sacrificial lamb per game would put SJ into first place! Haha! What a stupid Commish if he ends up docking any team 3 points.

I can just imagine the light bulbs people are going to throw at Polish players!

It appears to me Greg Lalas is as dumb as his brother. Unfortunately, as an LAG fan, Im all to well aware of this.

Posted by: shirteesdotnet | June 5, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Also, how do you ban a guy for life? All he has to do is have his buddies buy him a ticket and he is right int he door. He'll grow a beard, he'll shave his head (whoops, thats probably done already)... he'll blend in.

Posted by: shirteesdotnet | June 5, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Fellas, I coach a HS team that has Asian, African, Middle East and Hispanic representation and am a season ticket holder to this section. Racism is wrong and I won't tolerate being lumped in with a few Commy jerks who are racist.

No one ever sits in the same seat in this section because its general admission. I happened to be five rows off the pitch that night, and I noticed during the second half lots of people moving down to get closer to the action. As soon as the goal happened, I buried my head in shame from Dube being unmarked at the back post and the next thing I know 5 or 6 bottles are being launched onto the field and security is rushing around to pull out violators. Not to mentiong a PK goal in the 89th minute will add to the chaos. I couldn't hear anyting besides chaotic noise.

Also, the next time a goal is scored in your home stadium, try talking to the person a row behind you and see if you can hear what their saying with everyone screaming. It's very hard to hear.

The Crew hasn't had a league match since the incident. If the racist coward shows up, someone's memory will get jarred by putting a voice to a face this weekend, and this punk will be identified, arrested and his mugshot will be issued to every security official and supporter group leader, therefore he won't walk another foot into Crew Stadium.

Hope that clears things up a bit. We're all a little tired of this in C-bus, and we want closure by finding this jerk.

I travelled to RFK this spring and was well respected there and on the metro ride, while donning my Crew gear. I hope you will feel the same if any of you visit later this fall to Crew Stadium.

Cheers,

Posted by: CrewFanNOTARACIST | June 5, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

He probably would have gotten away with it if he had used the word "mayate" instead...

Posted by: Eric B | June 5, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I know Im not a pro at video editing (thank you linux for making it EASY!) but Id say Im pretty good at it. I can rip any fans video off of youtube, create some crappy four letter worded, foul languaged, racist comments, mix them into the video, add in a little more noise, some more fan yelling and VIOLA! I can turn any teams fans into a bunch of racist pigs.

I wouldnt do it of course, but you clearly get the idea how easy it is to do.

MLS needs to think twice about docking teams points. If it was an entire section, or an entire stadium I can understand docking a team points, but not if its just one red-necked, yellow bellied scum of the earth.

Posted by: shirteesdotnet | June 5, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Throwing things that disrupt play: good.

Throwing things that could cause injury: frowned upon.

Unpopular speech: banned from the league for life.


Makes sense.

Posted by: Sharp | June 6, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

How pathetic... these MLSC people or who ever you are too over react's just to please the blacks mexicans or what ever race... they have non critical thinking skills, it's so obviously if your white the rules don't apply to you that apply to all the other races! It's the narrow mined people who want to take away free speech... Not wanting to deal with reality that people said bad things to each other shows their small imagination they will past unconstitutional laws rules or want to ban the so called evil word doers from league games for life. But it's alright for professional athletes to do drugs steroids lie cheat steal show's it's OK to our young people... Have any athletes been banned for life the first second and on and on offences??? Hell no.... but a fan use's a ugly word and bam! The bad word police in this world have know integrity, are hypocrites and are certifiable and should check into a Asylum ASAP!!! Their lack of intellectual capacity to deal with some one's ugly words make me sick... but hey drug users in professional sports is OK!!!!

Posted by: Fists | June 7, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

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