Monday, February 22, 2010

It's All About the Money

GUEST BLOGGER: Graham Fox, a friend in futbol of du Nord from the greater Kanasas City area pitches in with the first of his two posts this week.

dN



As the season rapidly approaches, so our expectations and excitement grows as a whole slew of new coaches and players are entering and exiting the league. Many teams look completely different as new coaches start to really change and shake things up. From Kansas City to New York, Chicago to Chivas, and Toronto to Philly, new coaches and players are all lining up for a season that, sadly, might not happen on schedule.

It’s hard to tell from the media what exactly is happening. The league says they have put forth proposals on everything the players have asked for. The players say they are being denied basic human rights. They are tired of being stuck in limbo. The one item they really want, free agency (guaranteed contracts), is the one item the league does not want to bend on. The secrecy surrounding the negotiations makes it hard for any of us to know exactly what is going on.

If you’ve ever been involved in negotiations around a product, service, or disagreement you know the posturing that happens as both parties try to come to an agreement. How much is empty gesturing and chest thumping and how much is real? When the Player's Union or MLS officials talk to the press, how much can we really trust? At this point everything that is said is a chip being played.

The league says free agency is detrimental and could ruin MLS. They’ve done case studies and those case studies sure prove how bad that would be. What? You want to destroy everything we hold dear? Remember the NASL? No the old NASL, not the new one. Remember how that went down in flames? Free agents will bring that upon us. The seven horsemen of the apocalypse will ride down upon us when Kevin Hartman makes a move on his own. When Lee Nguyen goes to Dallas, the seventh seal will be broken and some babies will die and shit.

Meanwhile the players claim that every league in the world, even the very smallest ones take better care of their players than MLS does. In bondage to a cruel league. The players state that there will be no more deadline extensions. And in truth, the player’s side of the story is much closer to the truth than MLS’ side.

What’s going to happen if nothing gets resolved? Well we are in for a storm that no fan wants to see. Which side will you stand on?

I know I’m always going to side with the players, especially as they fight for rights and freedom rather than simply a higher salary.

This battle between players and management is not new to US Soccer history. The US National team had to a fight a similar battle when they were being overused and underpaid. Executives at the top rarely have the player’s best interests in mind. If a union, organization, or player shows that he can be walked over, almost every executive will do so.

There’s a reason MLS has a player’s union. And it’s not because everyone wants to get together and party. It’s because all this glitter and hype of soccer in the USA isn’t about the beautiful game. It’s not about who wins the MLS cup. It’s not about entertaining us with soccer. It’s defiantly not about giving guaranteed contracts and allowing free agents.

It’s all about the money. And if having free agents and guaranteed contracts threatens control and revenue stream, the league will fight it tooth and nail.

Regular News Below
Bruce did a small regular Monday news update just below. Keep scrolling, you're almost there.

See you Friday - Graham Fox (grahamfox@gmail.com)

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

unfortunately so much of the politics of sports surrounds money. you make a good point, sir.

2:25 PM  
Anonymous derek said...

How many teams in MLS are actually turning a profit? The league has survived this long because of its single entity structure.

If there is a work stoppage, I blame the players. If they don't like how the league is structured, then can go play in a different league.

3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I know I’m always going to side with the players, especially as they fight for rights and freedom rather than simply a higher salary."

Also, because it's not your money.

5:38 PM  
Anonymous sam said...

players.

the kevin hartman situation is the only thing you need to examine to realize that something is wrong with the system.

11:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whatsup with the music video Graham? is there some relevance there i am missing or what? curious

4:28 AM  
Blogger Graham said...

Well if you want to stretch it a little the song is about doing things on your own like a free agent.

But mostly I saw them at a show here in KC and I liked this song.

7:12 AM  
Anonymous Wallydrag said...

I understand both sides of the employer/employee arguments. I also disagree with the sentiment that if an executive can walk over someone they will. Yes there are many that do, but much like after a tornado strike some town, the news station also manages to find the bumpkin who just lost his trailer instead of the articulate professional who lost his house further down the street, the same is true of the executives who appear in the new screwing the little guy when there are thousands of corporations out there the same doesn't happen. But I digress.
In these labor talks I'm siding more with the players. Guaranteed contracts and the ability to move to another team when you know longer have a contract with your previous club seem like no brainers. The very essence of a contract is a promise with which you "guarantee" that if one party does this then the other party will do that.
The other point is about movement within MLS. The fact that a team can hold on to your rights after telling you they don't want you is absurd and even my 3-year old would be like "WTF?" when the such a mechanism is explained to him.
I'm not sure how so called "free agency" within a single entity system would be detrimental? It's not like one team can load up with all the talent of out of contract players. And it's not like anyone's getting screwed on transfer fees because there aren't any. I just don't get it.

11:31 AM  
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