COMMENTARY | Major League Soccer has taken a significant stand against those associated with the league, fans included, using homophobic language on and off the pitch. The same can be said for Houston Dynamo supporters group the Brickwall Firm.
Largely unknown to a majority of non-Houston MLS supporters, the Brickwall Firm got plenty of national attention on Monday for a regrettable reason. Two inappropriate and highly offensive Tweets that contained a homophobic slur (the "f-word" one) had been sent out by the group's official Twitter page; one during Sunday night's Houston at LA Galaxy match, and the other on Monday morning that defended the original Tweet. Those two posts have since been deleted and replaced with the following apology:
"The Brickwall Firm is strongly opposed to any and all biased or ignorant statements that recently appeared on our Twitter feed. The posts in question were in no way any sort of official or condoned statement. We are actively rectifying the situation, and are dedicated to more closely monitoring statements made by individuals purporting to speak for the group. Homophobia and racism are not a part of our agenda, nor anything to do with the atmosphere, culture, and community that we support. Our apologies to @HoustonDynamo, and the soccer supporters community at large."
David Wells, Vice President of the Brickwall Firm, further expressed the group's embarrassment regarding the Twitter fiasco during a brief conversation we had on Monday. The 39-year old fan of the Dynamo and Tottenham Hotspur explained how roughly 30 to 40 individuals who had known each other for many years broke off from the Houston supporters group El Batallon to form their own organization. Brickwall is a multicultural club made up of lifelong football fans, one that routinely works with multiple local charitable organizations.
"It sucks that I'm even having this conversation with you," Wells stated. He told me how the Twitter incident stemmed from the group having an "open door policy" regarding the Brickwall Firm account, a policy that the club will never again utilize. The offensive Tweets were posted by a single person who, as Wells explained, was certainly not speaking for Brickwall as a whole.
"This was a situation where somebody thought they would say something funny, and they instead offended and hurt people," Wells said. "We are going to do our best to make sure this doesn't happen again. (Those Tweets) aren't us."
The Gay4Soccer website posted the following statement from the Dynamo on Monday: "The Houston Dynamo strongly condemns the offensive language that appeared on the Twitter feed of Brickwall Firm, one of our supporter groups. The Houston Dynamo does not tolerate homophobic slurs, and promotes an inclusive environment by supporting the League's 'Don't Cross the Line' campaign. We are working very closely with the leaders of Brickwall Firm in investigating the issue and determining an appropriate course of action." Wells told me that he and others within Brickwall had been in contact with the Dynamo about the matter, and that appropriate action(s) in response to the Tweets would be taken.
I applaud Wells and those in charge of the Brickwall Firm for their responses to the situation that was, for them, unimaginable just a few days ago. Some life lessons are hard learned, and these guys are currently getting an advanced course in that very subject. A mistake was made, the group owned it, and they're now taking the positive and necessary steps to rectify the issue.
Events like this are how we all improve as people and as fans.
Zac has been covering Tottenham Hotspur, Major League Soccer, New York Red Bulls, the USMNT and other soccer leagues for Yahoo! Sports since 2010.
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