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By ESPN Staff

D.C. United president fined for critical comments

NEW YORK -- D.C. United president Kevin Payne was fined $5,000 by Major League Soccer, then apologized Thursday for criticizing the league and three of its teams.

The MLS said Payne was punished for "public comments deemed detrimental to the public image of the league" and pointed to an item posted on The Washington Post's Web site this week. Payne was critical of the conservative playing style of Colorado, New England and Real Salt Lake in quotes posted on the site.

Payne said the tactics create "a lot of games in our league that I can't watch."

D.C. United failed to make the playoffs after going 9-8-13. New England and Real Salt Lake are playing in the Eastern Conference finals.

"I deeply regret some of the comments I made in an interview published earlier this week. In trying to explain the, sometimes, unfair expectations on the head coach of D.C. United, I made critical comments of Colorado, New England, Real Salt Lake and the league. Those comments were unprofessional," Payne said in a statement released by his team after the fine was announced.

"I have apologized to those teams and individuals privately and now do so publicly," Payne said.

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