MLS Action Steps: The Fans Code of Conduct

In the wake of what happened at the Houston vs. Seattle game and Major League Soccer’s response, we are going to suggest steps we think MLS should be taking to make the league a more welcoming place for GLBT fans and players.

Prior to the start of the 2009 season, Major League Soccer instituted a league-wide Fan Code of Conduct in response to scattered incidents the prior year. It appears on the MLS website, and on many of the teams sites to describe expectations of fans within MLS stadiums.

This is one of the points of the Code of Conduct:

Fans enjoy the soccer experience free from fighting, thrown objects, attempts to enter the playing field, political or inciting messages, and disorderly behavior, including foul, sexist, racial, obscene or abusive language or gestures.

This is a good statement, and has served the league well for the last three years, but it’s time to beef it up.

Much like the code singles out sexist and racial remarks as abusive language that is unacceptable, MLS needs to add homophobic and transphobic language to this point. Major League Soccer can and should be a leader in the professional sports world by showing that there is no tolerance for language that is hurtful to their GLBT fans and players.

What do you think? Should the MLS Code of Conduct get an update?

Next up, we tackle a particular bit of homophobic language that has gone unquestioned in Major League Soccer for far too long…