15 March 2006

MLS COP OUT

LEAGUE ISSUES POINTLESS STATEMENT IN ATTEMPT TO RESOLVE NOWAK CONTRAVERSY
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GARBER: "IT'S MUCH BETTER FOR PEOPLE TO ALWAYS WONDER ABOUT NOWAK'S INTEGRITY THAN FOR THE LEAGUE TO ACT DECISIVELY. YUP, WE'D MUCH RATHER DEAL WITH ENDLESS RUMOR AND INNUENDO."
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MLS DOES EXACTLY THE WRONG THING.

Commisioner Garber has issued a statement on the Nowak incident during the RSL preseason friendly. It reads:

After conducting a thorough review, we find that D.C. United Head Coach Peter Nowak made improper remarks during the D.C. United vs. Real Salt Lake pre-season game on February 17, 2006 in Bradenton, Florida. The League has fined Peter Nowak an undisclosed amount.

Let's look at what I wrote on February 21 on how MLS should handle the investigation:

Let me reiterate: It is now incumbent on MLS to be definitive in their findings, and to act appropriately. Nowak, even if he said "to the hospital," might merit a significant suspension, but MLS must make it clear that is what the suspension was for. Simply issuing a vague statement that "Today, Piotr Nowak was suspended 5 games for conduct detrimental to the league" won't cut it. I would also like MLS to say precisely what the allegation was, and what information was used to evaluate it. In the manner, we can all have confidence that the correct decision was reached, for the proper reasons, and the appropriate sanctions issued.

Today's statement does not meet that standard. It is a ridiculous attempt to punt on the matter. The league needed to indicate whether or not Nowak said "Back to Africa" as was alleged, or "Back to Hospital" as he and Payne maintained. This vague statement can be interpreted however you want: either that Nowak was fined for ordering an unsportsmanlike tackle on a player, or that he was fined for out-and-out racism. As a result, DCU and its fans have no reason to look for Nowak's ouster (and based on this, I'm not going to call for it), while any detractor of DCU or the league can now freely opine that the league and the team coddles racists.

This cowardly action by Garber is despicable. If there wasn't proof he said something racist, but you do think he said something wrong, then say it. Don't allow the worst possible interpretation to hang out there permanently blotting Nowak's character. Or, if you thought the evidence did indicate that Nowak said something racist, then publish that, and let DCU and its fans take their appropriate action (in my case, I'd be calling for Nowak to resign.) This is exactly the worst of both worlds, but I do hope that more will be said. I hope MLS releases more information than just this. As it is, the situation is ridiculous.

UPDATE: Goff tries his best to fill in the details, but the league wants this kept quiet. Read it all, but key graf on my first read:

Sources close to the situation, who declined to be identified because they have agreed not to discuss the incident publicly, said the league found itself in an awkward situation because there was no audiotape of Nowak saying the remarks for which Real Salt Lake had accused him of making. At the same time, one source said, the league was concerned about a possible public perception that it wasn't seriously addressing the issue.
No, instead I have the perception that the league is completley and utterly clueless about the consequences of its actions. Yes, I'm pissed off, and I do intend to weigh in on the comments, but I think I'm too mad to think rationally. I'll sleep on this and get back to you.

7 Comments:

At 15 March, 2006 18:10, Anonymous Joe said...

Dude. You are right.

Now most people will assume that Nowak said the Africa thing, and he will be branded a racist.

This clears up nothing, and does no one any favors. I hope we haven't heard the last of this.

 
At 15 March, 2006 19:12, Blogger MLS Fangirl said...

I agree completely, what are we supposed to think? Without clarifying what was said, we have no idea if this fine is appropriate, too much, or falls terribly short. Let's hope they get enough flak to expand upon the statement.

 
At 15 March, 2006 20:28, Anonymous john said...

D,
You nailed this one right on the head. When I read the statement first at fangirl's site, my first though was 'D is not going to be happy'.

 
At 15 March, 2006 20:39, Blogger Kinney said...

I already sent an email to mls demanding more on this topic. It wasn't elequent (possibly misspelled as well), and I have no sway what so ever as they really don't care about fans. But it was a somewhat cathartic experience. BUT THIS STILL PISSES ME OFF!!!

 
At 16 March, 2006 02:37, Anonymous the belly said...

Preach on, Brother D!

 
At 16 March, 2006 08:55, Blogger D said...

gJoe: Agreed.
Fangirl: Agreed.
John: Right. And Still Not Happy.
Kinney: What email address did you use? That's good stuff.
Belly: I needs to gets me a choir or something. Can I getta Amen?!

 
At 16 March, 2006 11:04, Blogger Crew Fan said...

This is just what MLS needs: yet another Dumb Decision to add to their already lengthy list of Really Dumb Decisions.

 

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