KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard apologized to fans for the way he behaved and the comment he made to a Kansas City Sporting fan during a match on Sunday, April 9th.
After reviewing the incident, Colorado Rapids and Major League Soccer reprimanded him with a three-game suspension. Howard used foul language in the verbal exchange with the fan during the game the Rapids eventually lost 3-1.
On Friday, Howard posted a statement on his official Facebook page about his three-game suspension, but also about the lack of security against ‘drunk fans.’
“I want to make it clear that I have never been put into a situation like that until Kansas City,” he said in his Facebook post.
If you can’t see his statement on Facebook below, scroll down to read it.
The video posted to YouTube showing part of the incident is full of obscenities. Watch it with caution.
WARNING: OBSCENE LANGUAGE
I want to begin by saying I am genuinely sorry for my behavior in Kansas City and I want to apologize to my fans. I let myself get too worked up after being provoked and said some things I shouldn’t have. I am at fault and certainly not a victim in this incident.
With that being said, I feel compelled to elaborate a bit more based upon the responses of others. After reviewing the incident in Kansas City, my league and my team chose to admonish me and suspend me for almost 10% of the season, but they did not say a word about the fan’s antagonistic behavior or the negligent security. While I regret my reaction and understand the need to take action on their part, I am surprised and concerned that the full context of the incident wasn’t considered and responsibility wasn’t shared.
We all want passionate fans but there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed. It is not ok for an apparently drunk fan to get inches away from an athlete’s face and yell obscenities at them. While I should have controlled my reaction, I want to make it clear that I have never been put into a situation like that until Kansas City. I’m not a security expert, so don’t know the details of how a fan could get so close, but it was not the norm and not right.
I am not saying I want censorship of fans or security policing against passion, but we all deserve a fan-friendly and safe environment. I don’t mind – and even enjoy – a bit of verbal jousting with fans but I don’t want to be taunted for my race or my disability (Tourette Syndrome), which didn’t happen specifically in Kansas City but happens very often. I want security to keep fans at enough of a distance that a physical confrontation is impossible.
I am convinced that instructing athletes to “endure all, respond to none” is not the right answer. While re-stating one more time my own fault in this matter, I urge MLS, Sporting Kansas City, the Colorado Rapids and sports institutions in general to review fan-athlete interactions – both what is permitted and how that is supervised.