Major League Soccer star Sebastian Lletget has apologized for the use of a homophobic slur in a video he posted to Instagram, but the player still faces an investigation by the league. A member of the LA Galaxy and the U.S. men’s national team, Lletget can be seen in the video playfully slapping the back of the head of Galaxy teammate Julian Araujo during practice, then calling him a “puto,” a homophobic Spanish slur for a gay man. Lletget deleted the video a short time later, and reached out to Cyd Ziegler at OutSports to apologize and take responsibility for his actions.
“I messed up,” Lletget wrote in his statement to OutSports. “Earlier today, I posted a video that included me using a derogatory slur in Spanish.”
Lletget said he had taken down the video in question, but wanted to “address its impact” as well as his own actions.
“I take full responsibility and ownership on what was an extremely poor and ill-thought phrase and have no excuse for my actions,” the 28-year-old star wrote. “I am sorry and know the pain that this term has caused for so many.”
MLS responded to the incident, retiterating their commitment to “providing an environment in which all individuals are treated with dignity and respect” and their zero tolerance policy towards homophobic language. They promised a full investigation.
Lletget’s longtime partner is the singer and actress Becky G, who made history by portraying the first LGBTQ+ superhero in the 2017 reboot of Power Rangers.
Lletget is not alone in his use of the gay slur. MLS has worked for years to prevent fans from chanting the word during games, but with mixed results. Fans chanted it during the Galaxy’s Pride Night in 2018, with the slur ringing out throughout the game.
Lletget, an attacking midfielder, has played on the Galaxy since 2015, and has been a member of the U.S. men’s national team since 2017. He also represented the U.S. on the under-23, under-20- and under-17 national teams as well. He told Ziegler he wants to be “part of the solution – not part of the problem” by continuing his advocacy and allyship for the LGBTQ+ community. He also wanted to point out that the video and slur do not represent his true self.
“Those who know me know my character and heart,” he wrote. “I will remain outspoken in my support and advocacy.”
He also did not shy away from the spotlight on his words and actions.
“Thanks for your accountability,” he concluded. “I need to do and be better.”