On the Houston Louis Crayton Incident
On many occasions, this blog has written about teams getting highly charged situations horribly wrong. Real Salt Lake with the Piotr Nowak/Atiba Harris incident and Chicago with the Blanco punch both come to mind. Which brings us to the Louis Crayton incident in Houston. There was a way that Houston, in a short minded way of trying to save face, could have played the incident with their fan using racial taunts: "We didn't hear the incident, but it doesn't excuse players going into the stands and endangering our fans." Put out some faceless spokesperson for the team. That sort of thing. And, you know, they might have a point -- Crayton shouldn't go into the stands, no matter what the provocation. That would have been the right response. If you have the tolerance of a saint. Now, if my position was swapped with Louis, well, I think we would have responded similarly.
That being said, Houston is currently running a top of the website headline apologizing to Louis, and condemning the action of one bad apple. And for that, we should recognize that they have got this exactly right. Dynamo President Oliver Luck has not tried to play some silly PR game to save face. He manned up and took the high road. Houston reported the incident to MLS, without waiting for United to take some action. We can argue about details here and there, but this is a refreshingly honest and strong denunciation:
"The Houston Dynamo would like to apologize to Louis Crayton, the Liberian goalkeeper for D.C. United, for the stupid remarks directed at him after the conclusion of Sunday's D.C. United-Houston Dynamo match.
We condemn in the harshest terms the comments made by one of the 17,000 fans in attendance on Sunday. With the highest level of certainty we can state that this individual, who has been banned from attending Dynamo matches indefinitely, does not represent in any way the vast majority of fans who are part of the Dynamo family, nor do they represent the position of the franchise or the league.
...I would encourage all Dynamo fans to express to Louis Crayton and the D.C. United organization that we are an open, welcoming, and tolerant community. Please take a minute or two and send a short note to Louis care of the following e-mail address: DHicks@dcunited.com.
Really, that's about as stand-up a position as you could possibly hope for. While I am not the aggrieved party in this situation, as a United fan I have a tremendous amount of respect for the way in which Houston has approached this situation from the point of view of an organization. They think it's atypical of their fans, but they're not using that as an excuse to ignore it. They've confronted it, they've made their actions clear, and we should applaud them.
As for the fan in question, there's no doubt that he's a fuckwad of the highest order. Racism in soccer is something that we've kept mercifully far from our games for years, and now to have someone not just use racial epithets, but also to cop the language of La Liga style slurs with "Monkey" just proves what a racist, anti-american, euro-poseur this dick is. Thrice damned over. Houston may have lost a fan, but they're a better organization for it.