16 March 2006

Shame! Shame!


So considering I woke up this morning and I'm still pissed off at Garber and MLS for their handling of the Nowak situation. From the comments, it is clear I'm not the only one. But, if I'm going to be fair about this, I have to ask myself this question: "Could I have done better?" Just this once, I think the answer is yes.

You can read between the lines and safely assume that the league has no idea what actually happened. If there was proof of a racist comment, Nowak should and probably would be gone. Certainly a suspension would be in order. A fine indicates that they feel like Nowak said something bad, but they don't know what. Okay. So let's assume that MLS after their investigation was left with an accusation from Ellinger/RSL and a defense from Nowak/DCU with no way of telling what actually happened. How do you resolve it? By being transparently honest. What would be wrong with the following statement?

After conducting a thorough review, the league does not find convincing evidence that Piotr Nowak uttered a racial slur at Real Salt Lake's Atiba Harris. However, Mr. Nowak's admitted actions were not in keeping with the league's ideals of sportsmanship and fair play, and he has been fined an undisclosed amount. In pursuing this investigation, the league interviewed parties from DC United, Real Salt Lake, and neutral observers present at the game.
There, admit it was a difficult situation, and you didn't have any conclusive evidence. Be honest, we expect that to be the situation. As it stands, it sounds like you could well be harboring a racist, and that's not right.

Other reactions?
+ Over at Are You Loyal: "I am pleased to see that this is over and the league and fans can now return to arguing about important things... like actual soccer issues." Rebuttal: This may be over from a formal point of view, but it is hardly over for good. This now leads a scabbed over wound that could fester. By wording their actions as they did, MLS now allows people far away from the soccer scene to say things like "You know, Piotr Nowak is a racist, the league fined him for it but didn't say much because they didn't want the embarassmant." Or things like "You know, Ellinger race-baits all over the place. Any time he hears something he doesn't like, he'll play the race card and the league has to act whether anything happened or not." It's over only in the most strictly formal sense.
+ Bruce's Belly: Piotr, keep your lawyer's number handy.
+ MLS Fangirl: How are you supposed to react? Note from DCenters Exactly. While this sports thing is a business, I've always believed that Payne and DCU had some integrity. Now that they could be harboring a racist, it sort of tarnishes the entire fandom aspect. While I'm pretty sure that both Nowak and Payne are still men of integrity, the league's wording makes me wonder.

There's more stuff to talk about today (the departure of Kenny Bertz, the astounding Operation: Deflower coup that may have been pulled off by the kids over at PCK) and I will get to it. The week is no longer boring and slow.


At 16 March, 2006 10:30, Anonymous john said...

Key word is may. The graduate student senate has been known to allocate $5000 without batting an eye and then spend a half hour debating over $75.

At 16 March, 2006 11:31, Anonymous CPC said...

MLS Press Releases should be carried by the official North Korean Central News Agency.

At 16 March, 2006 13:27, Anonymous john said...

From the Goff article today:

"League officials conducted a monthlong investigation and, at one point, summoned Nowak from Spain, where United had been holding training camp, to meet with Garber at MLS headquarters in New York."

I hadn't heard this before. Or is this old news?

At 16 March, 2006 13:38, Blogger Eric Salsbery said...

I think by DCU Fans getting up in arms about the statement, you are doing your own cause a dis-service. Nobody outside of DCU Fans really cares.

The statement was appropriate in that it did not take sides on the issue. I assume because of a lack of proof to support either case.

No it did not vindicate Nowak nor did it convict him. I believe that MLS took the only action it could possibly take in order to remain unbiased in their decision.

No one is guilty and no one is vindicated.

I wanted a decisive answer from MLS but after looking at the situation, I believe MLS acted appropriately.

At 16 March, 2006 14:51, Anonymous Joe said...

Deuce, I think you may be missing the point. It doesn't matter whether other MLS fans care or not. What matters is the conclusions that people will draw when they read that little SI.com item (and the many more presumably to come).

At 16 March, 2006 20:02, Anonymous Matt said...


If one day you are accused of rape...I hope that the judge fines you and then issues a statement that neither clears you nor convicts you.

Yes...you are free to go..pay the fine...but in the court of public opinion everyone will think that you are a rapist....because the judge didn't say what you were guilty of.

Nowak was charged with being a racist...and then convicted of something....but what???

At 17 March, 2006 13:29, Blogger Eric Salsbery said...

Matt, It is pretty harsh to wish injustice on someone you don't even know. That says much about your character.

In reference to your statement... If that situation that you have described were to happen, everyone that matters to me would know that I am not, and I would know the truth in my heart... so why would I care what people I don't know and that have no bearing on my life at all think of me?

Nowak was charged with making inappropriate comments and for that he was fined. He was not charged with being a racist. That is a label attached to him by people that assume they know what is going on.

You are saying that Peter should give a damn what we think. If he believes he is innocent.. then why should he care what you, or I, think.

At 18 March, 2006 06:38, Anonymous Matt said...

I said "if" not that I "wished" you would be charged.

Big difference...

Perception is reality in the court of public opinion.

"Perception" has ruined politicians, blackballed coaches.. etc...etc...you get the point.

Thankfully for Nowak the MLS is not exactly a media machine and it looks like this will be largely ignored.

If this had happened to a coach in the NFL, NBA or MLB they'd be ruined.


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