Good-bye Mr. MacFarlane, Congratulations Mr. Chang
The news that Mr. Will Chang has bought out Mr. Victor MacFarlane is, of course, being analyzed for any implication of stadium politics. That's healthy, and I can understand some people's optimism along those lines, but while a simplified stadium approach from Mr. Chang may make it easier, it may also make things more difficult. I'm not sure how this plays out. Yes, there's less of a specter of "look at that give-away of mixed use land to that rich guy" but there's also more of a question of "so what does this stadium actually do for the city/county/locality when it is built? What does it anchor? Why invest in any of this?"
If you had any hope of a more soccer-specific, less entertainment multipurpose stadium, you can shelve that right now, though to be honest, you probably should have shelved it a year or two ago. And by "you", I, of course, mean "me."
However, while I have the greatest regard for the engagement and enthusiasm of Mr. Chang, I am sad that United will no longer have an African-American majority owner. Perhaps we really all are post-racial now, and such concerns shouldn't bother me, but it felt good that MLS was able to be inclusive to the African-American community at the levels of players, coaching, and ownership without it having to be a major drama. And, the longer we go in professional sports in general, or MLS in particular, without African-American ownership, the more you sense the smell of cigars and leather chairs in the old boys room. We know that MacFarlane was in this primarily for the real-estate, and that is a fine motive for me, and that once that opportunity looked to dry up, he moved on. We know he wasn't forced out. But part of me mourns this passing anyway.
Yes, I realize that this is probably ridiculous nonsense, a sort of failed utopian vision of racial harmony, or perhaps the illusions thereof. And yes, I recognize that Mr. Chang, not to put too fine a point on it, is not exactly lily-white and that the Asian American community in D.C. is a vital constituency. So what am I missing then? I don't know, but I feel that something has passed on.
Still, to Mr. Chang, I congratulate you on your rise to majority ownership. You are a fan of the team, a man willing to dedicate your heart, your mind, and your hair to this club's success. Get us a stadium, and I could ask no more of you as an ideal owner. Good luck sir.