D.C. United’s Michael Parkhurst’s racial slurs were not racial slurs

Inter Miami wins, says D.C. United player used racial slur

Miami FC has moved past D.C. United to finish the season atop the Eastern Conference, but the team’s top-seeded opponent in the opening round of the MLS playoffs will be determined by a more controversial factor: the fact that D.C. United forward Michael Parkhurst’s on-field behavior offended some people.

Parkhurst, a United player since 2002 who had been in talks with D.C. over a contract extension, was fined $10,000 and suspended for three games Saturday after making racial slurs to members of D.C.’s African-American and Hispanic sections. He said in a statement Sunday he took the incident in stride.

Miami FC, a club from the United States Soccer Federation charter state of Florida, finished the regular season with 18 wins and four draws. It was the first time in MLS this season that two clubs finished with at least 20 victories.

But Saturday night, D.C. United and the Miami FC fell to rivals Miami FC in the decisive regular-season game, 3-1, in Miami. The result kept D.C. United’s unbeaten streak at seven games and pushed Miami FC out of the Western Conference semifinals with a 2-0 win over the Chicago Fire.

The incident came more than two weeks after D.C. United goalkeeper Nick Rimando was arrested for allegedly punching a Miami resident in the face and knocking him out. Rimando and the United organization have denied any wrongdoing.

Parkhurst and United head coach Ben Olsen said they were sorry for causing an uproar and for the damage it did to the club’s reputation.

After the game, the club’s players posed for a photo in front of a bronze statue of the Rev. Jesse Jackson at D.C. United’s home stadium, RFK Stadium, with the words “United We Stand” sprayed across the side of the building. Parkhurst also wore a shirt with the slogan.

“These were not racial slurs in any way,” Parkhurst said. “I know the media will have their version of it, but I wasn’t talking about any racial slurs.”

The team and Parkhurst

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