20 February 2006

More Fallout on Nowak Racism Allegation

The plan was to write an epic poem celebrating Bobby Boswell's first cap, but the news cycle doesn't rest, so let's move with the tide. First, Steve Goff now is on record regarding the allegations discussed here yesterday (and discussed everywhere else as well). Key graf:

"Peter was telling [United rookie Kenney Bertz] to get back at their player," Walker, who is black, said in a telephone interview. "The guy was big and reckless, and he shouldn't have even been in the game. When Kevin told me after the game what the Real guys were saying, I was like, 'That's funny because that's not what he said.' Everyone heard it."...Ellinger, a Montgomery County native, was traveling yesterday and couldn't be reached for further comment, but a team spokesman said the club was considering filing an official complaint with MLS.
So, at this point in time, to believe that Nowak made a racist comment, you have to believe all of the following:
  1. That DCU players like Walker are lying to cover for Nowak.
  2. That Kevin Payne is lying to cover for Nowak.
  3. That Nowak is lying when he says he was instructing Kenny Bertz to retaliate for physical play and never said a thing about Africa.
  4. That the AR (as neutral a party as you can get) on the scene failed in his duties to accurately monitor the situation.

That's an awful lot to swallow, even if I could be persuaded on one of those points (sure, players and coaches are in a power relationship, Payne has political concerns regarding that stadium, etc...) to believe all of them requires a full suspension of Occam's Razor. It is a much simpler explanation that RSL misheard Nowak.

Which brings us to Ellinger. I have no problem with his actions to date, but if he does file a formal complaint with MLS, then he is raising the stakes. And if Coach E does that, he better have a whole lot of evidence to support it, and certainly more than we know of now. The act of filing a complaint will tarnish Nowak's name even if there's nothing to the story. You can't file a complaint here with a "Well, let's find out the truth" mindset. That would be a cop-out. No, if you file the complaint, it's because you think he did do it, and you want him sanctioned. If all Coach E has is what we have so far, his actions would only serve to damage Nowak, and weaken US Soccer as a whole by clouding an issue where, it seems to me, none exists.

Reaction from other quarters is appropriately moderate. Kali neatly summarizes the confusion of the entire situation over at Real Salt Lake Blog. The Belly looks to see if a double standard is being applied between reactions to Nowak's comment and the Houston 1836 reaction, and reaches a surprising but well-reasoned conclusion.


At 20 February, 2006 14:54, Anonymous Matt said...

I do have a problem Ellinger's comments...but can overlook them if he will publicly state that he misunderstood PN's comment.

We've all reacted to things said or done in the heat of the game and later realized that we had misunderstood the opponent's intent.

Or in Ellinger's case..what was said..

At 20 February, 2006 16:03, Anonymous john said...

Garber has a 'statement' on the MLS site, MLSnet

At 20 February, 2006 16:15, Blogger D said...

Saw it and posted as you made your comment. This situation sucks.


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