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ATLANTA, GEORGIA—Major League Soccer has given Atlanta United’s Santiago Sosa a three-game suspension for uttering homophobic slurs during the team’s game against the New England Revolution on October 1.

He will serve the suspension through the United’s final game of 2022 and the first two contests of the 2023 campaign as well.
Argentina-born Sosa is currently in his second season at Atlanta. Cucho Hernandez, a forward with the Columbus Crew, was suspended by the league on the same day as the event for precisely the same behavior.

Over the past few years, the MLS has penalized several players for using homophobic insults. One is left to wonder when athletes in the league will get the message and quit making homophobic remarks to opponents or on social media. The league deserves praise, though, for frequently suspending players when it occurs. While other leagues impose largely worthless fines, bans will eventually become more meaningful.

Sosa will undergo training on LGBT inclusiveness through Athlete Ally in addition to the suspension. The league’s approach is the ideal one-two punch: 1) use punishment to send a message to the other teams in the league, and 2) use conversations about enlightening the offender.