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The Pope Is a Union Man

Eddie Pope, who retired last fall after 12 seasons and was arguably the best defender in league history, has accepted a job as director of player relations for the Bethesda-based MLS Players Union.

He had also discussed a job with D.C. United this winter. Instead, he will be part of a group that is preparing for what promises to be contentious negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement. The current deal expires following the 2009 season and, as we all know, salaries and benefits will be at the forefront of the battle.

"The players in MLS have worked very hard and sacrificed a great deal to build the league," he said in a written statement. "I look forward to working for the players to help them to achieve a better life for themselves and their families."

Said union boss Bob Foose: "He will be an integral part of the union leadership as we continue to work to improve conditions for all MLS players."

By Steve Goff  |  January 8, 2008; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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Comments

Deja vu.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | January 8, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully he won't be red carded halfway through negotiations.

Posted by: Logan Circle | January 8, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Goff-how about you lay off the "union boss" label?

Posted by: chill out goff | January 8, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Designated Players, CONCACAF Champions Leagues, Supporters Shields and the like are great.

HOWEVER, nothing would be greater than for MLS and its Union to work very productively together on the next CBA - ANY major ugliness could really shake up what's growing into something great here.

Posted by: UVA-United | January 8, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Goff-how about you lay off the "union boss" label?

Posted by: chill out goff | January 8, 2008 11:15 AM

------------------------------------------

Gee, Bob, he lets you get a good quote in there and you complain about the attribution 15 minutes after he posts?

Posted by: Brian | January 8, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Goff-how about you lay off the "union boss" label?

Posted by: chill out goff | January 8, 2008 11:15 AM

People sure are getting testy around here...

Posted by: C'mon March | January 8, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Is this a newly created position? If not, whom did EP succeed? How nice that they are located in Bethesda. I hope to see EP at lots of events around the area. Is the foundation he started while playing for DCU still going?

Posted by: 22201 | January 8, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Maybe Pope can bring us to the level of the NHL and MLB and we can have our first players strike and owners lockout.

Good luck keeping it together!

Posted by: Strikes and Lock Outs | January 8, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

A nice position for Eddie to continue blazing a path for American Soccer players.

Any indication of where the Pope's will reside? I've gotta think they'd return East.

Posted by: Kim | January 8, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

People sure are getting testy around here...

Posted by: C'mon March | January 8, 2008 11:35 AM

That's what I've saying -- people are finding any excuse to be contrarian or negative.

Posted by: RK | January 8, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

There was a time when people in Foose's position wore the "union boss" label with pride.

Posted by: 22201 | January 8, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

does union boss have a negative connotation?

i didn't think so....


has anyone else noticed that 'comments' on this blog have gotten a lot more negative as of late....

Posted by: myt! | January 8, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

has anyone else noticed that 'comments' on this blog have gotten a lot more negative as of late....

Posted by: myt! | January 8, 2008 12:09 PM

True that, although it isn't as bad as the Wizards blog area. A few bad apples on the Wizards site have ruined it for me. I hope that doesn't happen here.

Re: Pope, good for him. He seems like a smart, capable guy.

Posted by: jj | January 8, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

i think the comments have gone downhill simply because we havent had any REALLY good news in a while. all dc seems to be getting is almosts (see veron and popular pointe). is gomez staying or leaving? is jaime still here? these questions make the fans of the supporters shield champs exceptionally nervous and edgy.

Posted by: the gilbert | January 8, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

As a union activist and ardent DC United fan, I simply point out that "union boss" connotes a degree of totalitarian control and lack of democracy that I find it hard to square with the presence of intense and articulate guys like Ben Olsen on the executive board.

Ben Fosse is the top member of the paid union staff. Unless there is reason to believe that he behaves in an undemocratic manner, the label is inapt.

Posted by: paul | January 8, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

As a union activist and ardent DC United fan, I simply point out that "union boss" connotes a degree of totalitarian control and lack of democracy that I find it hard to square with the presence of intense and articulate guys like Ben Olsen on the executive board.

Bob Foose (sorry about the earlier typos) is the top member of the paid union staff. Unless there is reason to believe that he behaves in an undemocratic manner, the label is inapt.

Posted by: Correcting typos | January 8, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunate move for Eddie. From soccer great to syndicalist.

Posted by: Jason Sparks | January 8, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the clarification Paul, but I find the defensiveness unnecessary. The term has no negative connotation with me at all, and judging from the comments, several others as well. Union Boss = Guy with authority at a union.

But again, thanks for the explanation.

Posted by: JkR | January 8, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Jason Sparks,

Maybe Houston fans will but Eddie Pope's image on their flags instead of Che's....

I fail to see how its an unfortunate move....

Posted by: myt! | January 8, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I wish Eddie nothing but the best. At first it seemed a bit odd to me, but as I think about it, Pope brings credibility that will be useful not just with the owners, but also with fans and the media. I have a sort of Capra-esque view of him as someone who will say what he thinks is right, rather than what he is paid to say, and if the principle negotiators share that view Pope could help to keep things from getting out of hand.

Posted by: regular fan | January 8, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Gene Upshaw is what you should think of when talking about a Union Boss in the totalitarian, corrupt sense. Unless a player is literally paralyzed on the field, there is no chance that the NFLPA will pay for his chronic, life-altering injuries. At the same time, Upshaw is making millions on the work of players who won't live long enough to receive retirement benefits because of their years of bodily abuse. So, no, Pope is't a union boss in that sense.

On the other hand, MLS players are going to have some serious disagreements with the leagues on several fronts. Designated Players, roster size and composition with more games for CONCACAF champions and SuperLiga, and international player designations are all areas that have had singnificant changes in just the last year. We no that the league and the players union already traded jabs about developmental players about 9 months ago. I'm just curious to see if Pope will stick around in the position long enough to see what is definitely going to be an interesting negotiating process at the next CBA time.

Posted by: LeesburgSoccerFan | January 8, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

With active participants like Eddie, Ben, and Brandon Prideaux, the MLS players' union is full of intelligent people also known for their integrity. It is refreshing to see such a positive example of union leadership.

Posted by: Section 304 | January 8, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I really think that the league needs to improve salaries quickly, especially for developmental players. If Pope can help convince the league that it is in everyone's best interest to increase player salaries especially for the lowest paid, then he'll have done something very worthwhile. He seems like a nice enough guy to be able to work such a job well without having to resort to something disastrous like a strike.

Posted by: Sean G | January 8, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

'union boss' is a negative connotation? Uhhh...OK.

I HOPE there is no strike. I think doubling the minimum salary, tripling the cap and making the max salary in the area of $700-800K would be a good move. With cap increases of 7% per year. Hey, MLS Union, hire me! :p

The health benefits and pension in place are already pretty darn good for a league that isn't exactly the NFL in terms of revenue. (in fact, MLS' health plan, from what I've read, outstrips the NFL)
Just another reason I'd try to talk my fictional son out of playing in the NFL. (though I do love the game)

Posted by: papa bear | January 8, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

"I'd have played for food money."
-Shoeless Joe Jackson, "Field of Dreams."

I'd love for MLS players to make gazillions. But how can owners who are already losing millions each season be asked to fork over more?

Yes, the salaries for the unproven players are horrendous. And I agree with Pope that the players have busted their chops to make this league work. But if the MLS union pushes too hard, I fear our beloved MLS will be no more.

Perhaps that's why Pope is where he is now. Calm and cool as a center back, I pray he's the same over the negotiating table.

Posted by: Joe Doc | January 8, 2008 10:05 PM | Report abuse

I, for one, am just happy that Mr. Pope is back in the area. One of my favorite players to watch, and absolute class on and off the field.

Posted by: Stevan in Gaithersburg | January 9, 2008 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Steve -- Congratulations on your recognition by Soccer America as the nation's top soccer blog.

Go Ephs !!

DQ

Posted by: Dick Quinn | January 11, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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