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MLS labor talks: another view

As we await word on the status of MLS's labor talks, reader feedback continues to fill the comments section and my e-mail basket. This morning's kickaround included, in long form, the views of an Insider loyalist disappointed in the players' stance in the negotiations. From another reader, Ed, who "swears on a stack of flapjacks" that he has no ties to the union or any players, comes this:

I appreciate Jeremy's effort in putting his thoughts in long-form, but I do find it unconvincing. When players refer to rights, they are talking about the "right" to contract with whom they want and to move about the country as they please. That is a right. It's protected in the Privileges and Immunities clause of the Constitution. It's also a right that is recognized in the European Union and has been affirmed by the European Court of Justice as applying even to athletes in the Bosman case.

The analogy to businesses where folks are transferred about the country is a false one. They are not employed by monopolies -- there are going to be other employers in the industry. For some players, it might be about location, for others it might be about playing time, for others (Kevin Hartman, etc.) it's about being able to get a free- or even a fair-market wage. If one employer won't provide that, why is it deemed a "benefit" to be able to find another employer who would?

Yes, not everything players are asking for can be defined as a right, but it's wrong to claim that none of their demands are, or should be, rights.

As for the owners' supposed "concessions" -- none of us know what they are. They claimed the league has made proposals that have moved the league's position in the direction of the players' demands on contract guarantees and the ability to move within the league. We don't know what those proposals were, so we don't know if they're real concessions. The league claims it has proposed some change in team control of players' rights, though the owners are insisting they won't allow free agency. I'm not sure what change would be a real one, if it doesn't give the players some level of being able to negotiate with other teams (free agency). Without any detail, I can't evaluate the sincerity of the proposal.

The players addressed the MLS proposal because that's the only one the league offered public details on -- it's the one the league offered as evidence of its bonafides. So, the players chose to react the way I and others did -- to point out the league's number was a sham.

The league wanted the public to think they're giving players $60 million more -- salary increases. The proposal is a sham because most of that money actually reflects the addition of expansion teams. The new teams aren't being added to placate the players -- they're being done to expand market access for the league and to claim $40 million franchise fees from the new team owners.

Expansion is completely separate from the negotiations. We shouldn't be surprised the players were incensed when the league used its own expansion decisions as part of a cynical public relations ploy to turn fans against the union. The league made that ploy even more galling because they hid the fact that the numbers were primarily a function of expansion.

People in the general public fall for that stuff in every labor situation. It's why corporations have managed to turn most people in this country against unions, even including workers who seem blind to the fact this works to their detriment. So, the players union reps reacted by pulling back the curtain and screaming the "Emperor has no clothes" (if you pardon the mixed metaphor).

To point out the players are complaining about the size of the wage increase shows a fundamental misunderstanding. Yes, the players noted that the league's proposal would enshrine a smaller increase in salaries than what the league was doing on its own under the last CBA. The salary cap was not part of the last CBA, so this actually suggests the owners are trying to use the new CBA to cap their own spending -- to slow salary growth.

Moreover, because of the nature of the business, overall payroll increases do not necessarily translate into salary increases for anyone. It may just reflect the league will be doling out more high-end contracts to recruit foreigners who aren't even in the union now. Nothing in the league's proposal suggested agreement to raise minimum salaries, or to raise salaries across the board.

Furthermore, the fact that some players are returning to MLS after turns in European leagues proves nothing. I'm willing to bet that almost every one of those players were able to negotiate better deals from MLS the second time around, after establishing themselves in Europe. Troy Perkins is definitely getting a whole lot more money than he got from DCU before. Perkins' situation points out the difficulties for Americans moving to such foreign cultures with languages that they may never have even heard spoken before. That situation is in stark contrast to Europeans coming here, when they have been learning English since they were kids.

Reasonable people can surely differ about how much ownership and management are entitled to claim for their own profits and how much those doing the real labor should be entitled to get. Certainly, in this country we've tilted wildly in favor of management in recent decades, leading to unprecedented concentration of wealth and stagnant wages for something like 90 percent of the work force. What we cannot -- or should not -- do is pretend that's not what is happening. We need to acknowledge it or we cannot even discuss whether it should be happening.

No one wants the league to fail. I don't know if the players are the majority of the workforce in MLS, but they would have the most to lose if the league fails. The other jobs can be found in similar industries. If the league goes under, the career the players have spent their entire youth and adult life working towards would be pulled out from under their feet. The skills they've developed will be wasted. That's not what the players are trying to achieve.

The players are trying to gain a measure of protection for their yearly wage after committing to spend another year in MLS. Why is it even reasonable for the players to ask for that? Because FIFA rules prevent them from gaining substitute employment except during two very narrow transfer windows. Also, any comparable substitute employment would be in another country, and some of those countries -- some of the most desirable options -- are not real options for most American players due to visa rules.

And, they are seeking the ability -- normally understood as a right (courts have found this to be a right for other professional athletes in this country) -- to be able to shop their services once a contract has expired. The league has its reasons for trying to prohibit its own clubs from bidding for the players' services. I do not agree with them. I don't even agree that it's in their own interest -- but I think that's not decisive.

What should be decisive is that players like Hartman should not be forced to accept what the Wizards are willing or able to pay based on their own salary cap decision if some other team has more cap room and is willing to pay Hartman more. That's what we understand as a right.

As a fan, I respect the unique abilities the players have. As someone who has suffered serious injuries in friendlier competition, I also appreciate the physical risk they're facing. I don't want to see a work stoppage, but I agree with the players that it's time the league made a more tangible show of respect for their investment in the league's success.

By Steve Goff  |  February 25, 2010; 1:15 PM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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Next: USA roster for Netherlands friendly


Too long to read, sorry.
I have read too many opinions of this subject...what matters is going on behind closed doors. I am tired of rants and 'expert' opinions.

Posted by: nico78 | February 25, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Well point Ed made is that we, the public, really have no idea what is goin gon so I would caution you all from closing your minds to either side. I'm pretty convinved that, although I lean towards the players side in this case, the solution best for everyone lies in the middle.

Has there been any talk of arbitration yet?

Posted by: Atlanta4MLS | February 25, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I am tired of rants and 'expert' opinions.
Posted by: nico78 | February 25, 2010 1:33 PM

Who's ranting? Certainly not Jeremy or Ed. And neither claims to be an expert, either. Just two fans who have taken the time to read, think and formulate opinions. I appreciate their contribution to the larger discussion here on SI.

Posted by: sec133row5 | February 25, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I think he's attacking a bit of a strawman when he says fans aren't on the side of players. Overwhelmingly, I think fans understand the players' plight. What fans don't want, though, is a strike. Maybe those two things are in conflict, but I think the reality is that any labor negotiations is somewhat a product of leverage. With the league still losing money, it's hard to see what leverage the players have that doesn't include them spiting themselves. The players should certainly fight for whatever they can and fans should put pressure on the league to give some reasonable concessions. But once we're talking about strikes, I think the players are kidding themselves if they think it will accomplish their goals.

Posted by: FreeSanJose | February 25, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I want to highlight the point being made about contract guarantees:

"The players are trying to gain a measure of protection for their yearly wage after committing to spend another year in MLS. Why is it even reasonable for the players to ask for that? Because FIFA rules prevent them from gaining substitute employment except during two very narrow transfer windows."

Right now, the guarantee the league offers doesn't even kick in until just after the FIFA summer transfer window opens. So, let's look at the example of a veteran agrees to renew his MLS deal in December or January, instead of going abroad. Then, he's let go a month into the season, in late April. Outside of making a career-killing move to the USSF lower divisions, he can't get another job playing soccer. If he's willing to wait around, he might get some interest in Latin America or Europe when the transfer window opens a couple of months later. Then, he goes abroad for some tryouts when the teams start training in late July. If he does well, he gets a contract before the seasons resume at the end of August. Meanwhile, he's been out of work for several months and has probably incurred substantial expanse in moving to Europe or Mexico in hopes of landing another job.

That's why FIFA rule call for contract guarantees, and it's why the MLS players have been fighting to get that protection here.

Posted by: fischy | February 25, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Oops -- "incurred substantial expense", not "expanse".

Posted by: fischy | February 25, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

"I think he's attacking a bit of a strawman when he says fans aren't on the side of players. "

????? Who said fans aren't on the side of players? Unless I missed something, neither writer wrote that.

Posted by: fischy | February 25, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

"Too long to read, sorry.
I have read too many opinions of this subject...what matters is going on behind closed doors. I am tired of rants and 'expert' opinions."

Not much to work with if you rule out informed opinions and rants. Almost Palin-esque logic.

Posted by: billq1 | February 25, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I am a devoted fan of MLS and I am already sick of this garbage. I tend to side with the players but I think that is beside the point. A work stoppage is something that simply cannot be allowed to happen. The league just doesn't have enough foundation for it.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | February 25, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

How about Taylor Twellman? He tried to go to Europe. NE and the suits in NY both said the other wouldn't let him go because he is too valuable. This fan supports the players.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | February 25, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

what countries besides England have the strict visa rules? also, I'd like a source for the statement that 90% of the work force suffers from stagnant wages.

aside from those two petty points, thanks for contributing.

Posted by: troy6 | February 25, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

I don't mind the long-form discussions this has lead to for many of us.

This is fascinating and frustrating. It's fascinating because MLS has grown since its inception and is the first league to go through labor negotiations in post-economic apocalypse America. It's fascinating because Pompey is blowing up, UEFA wants to reign in its clubs, and it involves a ton of economic and legal discourse as well as serves as the next step in the evolution of the league and the game on our shores.

It's frustrating - because there's so little real data for us all to chew on and today is the "Line in the Sand" day and no one wants the outcome to be bad for the sport here.

If we think this is bad - the NFL, NBA, and NHL negotiations on the same front will dramatically alter those leagues forever and I think you'll see a lost NBA season at the least and the NFL will have similar issues.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | February 25, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

"When players refer to rights, they are talking about the "right" to contract with whom they want and to move about the country as they please."

Players have this right. If they don't want to play in MLS - which is one company - they can play for any USL or NASL team, or any other team in any other league. So they do have options. Also, from the Strauss article, it sounds like a player could go to any other MLS team and try to work out a deal. The compensation issue didn't keep Christian Gomez from moving to Colorado, did it? I'm sure there are other examples.

Posted by: Senor_Funk | February 25, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Not much new here. Nonetheless, it is interesting how, in the US, so many folks can not imagine that management might be wrong --either in the sense that management's view of the world may be incorrect or that management is not working for everyone's best interests. In particular, it is interesting that so many folks accept the assertion that MLS could not have gotten this far without being a single entity as well as the assertion that any change in the players' working conditions would undermine the single entity concept. In the first instance, the US is full of successful sports leagues, including soccer leagues, but only MLS operates as a single entity... food for thought there. In the second instance, MLS teams already hire and pay staff outside the control of the league. If LA can hire Bruce Arena after he worked for DCU and the single entity concept not collapse, why can't some team other than KC hire Hartman without western civilization coming to an end?

Posted by: Jphubba | February 25, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

If LA can hire Bruce Arena after he worked for DCU and the single entity concept not collapse, why can't some team other than KC hire Hartman without western civilization coming to an end?

Posted by: Jphubba | February 25, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

That's one of the most thoughtful-and-insightful-yet-devoid-of-reactionary-bias analyses of the situation I've read yet. Clearly, you don't belong on the internet.

Posted by: Kenobi | February 25, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Excellent piece, thanks for sharing it with us.

Alright owners, prove you care and get this thing fixed.

Posted by: dcufan | February 25, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm sympathetic to the player's plight, and think free agency is overdue, but the politics of this letter are ridiculous:

"It's why corporations have managed to turn most people in this country against unions, even including workers who seem blind to the fact this works to their detriment."

This is not at all true. This country has become prosperous as unions have declined. Both GDP per capita and median compensation are near all-time highs. In addition, those industries with high rates of unionization tend to be suffering the most. I'd rather be a non-union worker at Honda than GM. Unemployment is lower at right-to-work states than those with more favorable laws for unions.

Posted by: grabowcp | February 25, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

My problem with all of these long document is that they spend so much time on what "should be" instead of what is possible.

The owners can give a little bit in terms of freedom for players after one of the league branches rejects their services (see Hartman, etc.). The players have to know that the owners will never bid against each other for player services in a investor/operator situation.

The problem I see with the players' focus, and with that of many supporters, is that it's on what is "fair" or what they believe is the best solution, and not on what is realistic to expect.

I wish my boss paid me $150,000 a year and let me set my own work schedule. But he is never going to do that. I can demand it all day long and threaten to quit, etc., and he is never going to do it.

Let's hear some people talking about real solutions, please.

Posted by: scott47a | February 25, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

A long rant about a lot of nothing. The league rattles off a list of items they've put on the table and the MLSPU takes exception with one of them and doesn't address any of the others...and surprise surprise the one item they take exception with is all about the money.

If I'm a player and I'm being asked to vote on a strike, I want to know what offers the league has put on the table before I cast my vote. Unless of course money is the only issue, so all those other "Freedom" and "This is America" issues are really a bunch of crap.

Posted by: PabloChicago | February 25, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

How about Taylor Twellman?
Posted by: VirginiaFan

Twellman was under contract when PNE made their offer. I sympathize with him because it was a good opportunity, but he was under contract with MLS, which decided that the offer was insufficient. Should there be a section in the CBA that allows players to go abroad whenever there's an offer?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 25, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"The league wanted the public to think they're giving players $60 million more -- salary increases. The proposal is a sham because most of that money actually reflects the addition of expansion teams."

What's the salary cap per team, about $2.5M?
3 expansion teams x $2.5M = $7.5M
Is the $60M for 5 years? It doesn't add up. What am I missing?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 25, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

This argument goes a long way toward showing that the $60M claim by the owners was bunk, but I'm still not convinced on free agency. Players do, in fact, have options beyond MLS, both in this country and abroad. I also don't buy guaranteed contracts. In real life, most of us schlubs are "at will" employees: you stay as long as you perform. Why should soccer players be different?

Posted by: schmuckatelli | February 25, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

To put this all in perspective. Remember when Troy Perkins was first here? He had to take a part time job in a sporting goods shop to make ends meet. I can't understand why a league can't at the very least pay enough so player's can live without having to have a second job.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | February 25, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

@VirginiaFan: Such players are taking an entry-level job in an entry-level league in a country that doesn't pay much attention to soccer. How much should they be making? In Perkins case, he excelled and his contract was upgraded.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 25, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

The reason people don't trust Unions is that they tend to destroy companies now, See Pan Am, Eastern Airlines, and GM. I have not seen the Union saying they want to raise the Min salary. The only thing they are after is Free agency and that will not happen, MLS is a Single Entity Structure and you can't have them bidding on players because that would threaten that structure.
When MLS was getting expansion fee's the economy was humming along, then the bottom fell out. The players need to see the bigger picture, Nobody will have any feeling for a guy who wants more MONEY to play a GAME. Have fun looking for a job that pays you the same wage you were getting from MLS.

Posted by: Patricksp | February 25, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

So, let me get this straight: the entire argument against the 'business/transfer analogy' is that MLS is a monopoly? Er, someone needs to inform USL and new NASL they don't exist... and taking into account the global market, MLS is far from the only potential employer for a professional soccer player. Sure, it may be the only one that some players _want_ to work for (location/salary requirements, etc.) but you can hardly make the case that it's a monopoly because it's the only desirable employer out there.

Let's also realize that, when it comes down to it, a player can very easily demand that he play at a particular place... look at Brian McBride and Luis Gil. It's just that most of the players out there aren't important enough to MLS for the league to make those concessions.

As far as Kevin Hartman's 'plight' - take a step back and think about it. Do you really think that there are teams out there that can't wait to get Hartman signed but KC is holding off for a 1st and 2nd round draft pick or something? What sense does that make? It is much more likely that nobody out there is interested in picking up an high salaried keeper when they already have someone that they're happy with. Despite all this crying over 'poor Hartman, can't get a job b/c of no free agency', actuality is that even if there _was_ free movement then he _still_ wouldn't have a job because the reason he's out of work isn't because of the system but because there just isn't a position for him to fill anymore.

I also tend to believe that if the league wanted to keep Kevin and there was a team interested but KC was asking for too much that the league would step in and force KC's hand, though that is only my opinion.

Posted by: sombraala | February 25, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Let's cut to the chase here. There's gonna be a strike. The question is, for how long?

I say three weeks, then the players cave just as the NHL players did to end their strike.

Posted by: Ron16 | February 25, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

That is a manifesto of a posting. Jeez, tl; dr for sure.

MLS Players have no legal standing. What the European Union recognizes doesn't matter because this isn't the EU. The players are employees of the MLS, as such, an employer can ask an employee to move or quit. If the player wants a better wage, he can get employed elsewhere,like with the USL or in a different industry. MLS is NOT a monopoly.

Posted by: MBUSA | February 25, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

apparently, Bilyaletdinov and Donovan have switched sides of the field in the middle of the game. no matter, Everton was equally ineffective before and after the switch.

Posted by: troy6 | February 25, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

To call the investments made in expansion teams both through the expansion fee and overhead associated with it a "sham" completely loses me. You can probably count on two hands the amount of people willing to spend that kind of money on pro soccer in the US. I love soccer and I'm willing to spend about $2K max on soccer tickets, tailgating, etc. A $40M expansion fee and $60M on additional salaries is a good thing if you're a player. That means new job opportunities (and security for existing players). After reading that, I lost interest in the rest of the long thing. There were probably some good points in there though.

Posted by: mbyrd28 | February 25, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

(Reposting the comment I just made in Goff's last post)

I have yet to see any reasonable explanation for not allowing even limited free agency (e.g. veterans with X years in MLS) in a league with a hard salary cap.

Even when a player's contract is over, or if he is released, his MLS rights are still controlled by his former club. Management saying he can leave the country is BS. In what other profession would restricting someone's right to work be OK because he can always leave the country to get a job?

I would truly like to understand the hard line that management has taken--because like all of us I want MLS to prosper--but I just don't get it. Irrational bidding is kept in check by the cap, no?

Can anyone show me what I'm missing?

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | February 25, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I think the MLSPU has a foot holding in the Court for Arbitration for Sport in terms of the rights of their players under the guise of the teams playing in non-MLS competitions. They should be afforded the rights that any other players in the world have, if there is a level playing field in international competitions. That's the chip FIFPro could not secure in FIFA interceding in this, mostly because FIFA probably does not want to implode the biggest growing soccer market in the world and the World Cup TV rights are already sold so they are making their money any way.

When you have MLS teams playing in CONCACAF and FIFA tournaments, and even the Open Cup, they are not competing under the closed-set of MLS; they are competing under regional and world governing bodies. If a player for Joe Public or Club America is free when their contract ends, then so should the MLS player. The single-entity concept goes by the wayside, otherwise what is to stop MLS from sending an all-star team to enter the CONCACAF Champions League if all the players are under contract to one body, who arbitrarily assigns them to different cities.

If you play under someone else's rules for these non-MLS competitions, then you have to be consistent and play under them in your own League. You can't have it both ways.

Posted by: IamAM | February 25, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Patricksp - I hate to use the soccer forum to get into larger social issues, but your claim that unions "now destroy" companies is one of the most ignorant comments I have seen in a while. Without getting into the details of the demise of Pan Am and Eastern, or GM (the union didn't decide to continue to build gas guzzlers as the price of gas doubled), unions are responsible for building the middle class in America, and their demise is responsible for the fact middle class wages have been flat for twenty years as the unrelenting corporate assault on workers, union and non-union, has taken hold in this country. Unfortunately, with NAFTA and a Congress and White House (yes, Obama's as well) bought off by corporate interests, workers don't stand a chance. Unions are the only leverage employees have to improve their lot. If you look forward to an America of haves and have-nots, then ban unions, and I will see you under the bridge - the new waterfront property for the unemployed and homeless.

Posted by: dcpsycho | February 25, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

bad analogy warning:
so, for you uninformed folks who say that the players can work anywhere they want, as long as it is not in MLS - lemme ask you this - what if I said sure, you could work at a Division 1 company that provides benefits, etc - but you have to give up the right to work for any other company I declare is also Division 1, competitors included - but that is okay because you don't have to abide by my rules, you don't have to work for IBM or Northrop Grumman or the government - you are free to go work for Wal-Mart, or maybe in a chemical plant in El Salvador - does that sound like you would be in agreement with that concept?

No, no such thing exists in most businesses, which is kind of the point. I can understand some of (heck many of) MLS' points - but I agree with very few of their arguments supporting those points. Which worries me.

@grabowcp - I'm flabbergasted by your misinformation to the point of near speechlessness - you are obviously in management somewhere I have to assume - or perhaps Congress ;-)

I've never been a member of a Union due to my type of work, but I damn sure appreciate what they do and have done and I quite enjoy the benefits the rest of us can simply take for granted that they have created for EVERYONE working today, members or not. Union membership isn't declining because unions aren't needed or wanted, it's declining because those "members" are people whose jobs have been moved or eliminated and they simply cannot belong.

@Ron16 - the NHL players never went on strike

Sorry for the non-soccer rant. I come from a union family :-)

Vamos United!

Posted by: dcufan | February 25, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

oh my, i never seen this long of a posting on the Insider...Go Goff Go!!!!

Posted by: godpere | February 25, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

@ dcufan: NHL players went on strike once and were locked out twice. The big one was a lockout, not a strike so I stand corrected on that. But on that one the players caved big time, & likely MLS players will cave, as well.

Posted by: Ron16 | February 25, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

What's the salary cap per team, about $2.5M?
3 expansion teams x $2.5M = $7.5M
Is the $60M for 5 years? It doesn't add up. What am I missing?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 25, 2010 2:49 PM

You're missing 2 things. It's $60M over 5 years, not for 5 years. They're promising (not proposing - -there's a difference, since these sums come from spending outside the CBA) spending $60M over those 5 years, not $300M.So, using your #s, it's $7.5M x 5 years. That's $35M -- actually it's really $30M at that $2.5M, since 2 of the teams won't play this year. Still that's half of the promised $60M. And, it's really more than $2.5M, since even the union acknowledges the owners' plan does mean small, continued raises in team wages.

The other thing you're missing is we're talking about more than 3 teams. Saputo says he has a deal in place for 2012. It's possible that MLS' #s include a 5th expansion team -- a 20th team -- in a city TBD. We don't know. The union is saying the league's offer really increases the salaries at about 4.8% per year. That'll average over $130k per year, per team = or about 650K per team x 18 teams. That's about $12 million more. Perhaps $15 million if MLS is figuring on 20 teams eventually. Add in at least 10M for the 19th and 20th teams, and you see how we get to close to $60M. What's the difference? $5 million or less -- perhaps that's in health benefits and other expenses. Maybe it's already in the $60M, depending on how soon the league expands to 20 teams.

Posted by: fischy | February 25, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Everything written is based on the premise that the league is a collection of separate businesses. Consequently, everything is flawed and irrelevant.

The league centrally manages many elements. In fact, centrally managed contracts themselves dis prove the multiple-businesses theory. Additionally, The league has investors in the league itself, not just teams. The players are asking the league to stop being a single business and the league will not stop being one.

The claim of monopoly/monopsony has been proven false. MLS already had a huge antitrust case. The league won because there is a world market for players.

Posted by: neil_g | February 25, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

PrinceBuster21 -- just as I answered you over in the other thread, there are two answers to your question.

Answer #1: with a cap in place, free agency will effectively serve to move money from the bottom end of the roster to the top end of the roster. This pushes against the cap, and creates pressure (not only amongst the players, but the owners as well) to expand the cap more dramatically than it otherwise would be. In other words, under this answer, opposing free agency is a "save us from ourselves" move by the owners.

Answer #2: the more significant concern is that allowing independent competition for players under normal free agency, with the increase in effective team autonomy that comes along with it, damages the ability of MLS, LLC. to successfully claim single-entity status in a court of law. There are some people here who think that'd be a good thing; but the investors see single-entity as the structure of the League in perpetuity, and will do anything to prevent this.

Posted by: christopher_a_metzler | February 25, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse


Sorry, I'm in the wrong town meeting.

Posted by: Phil_McCracken | February 25, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Justin Mapp, with his utter uselessness, inability to make an iota of improvement in his game, and utter lack of effort would tell you that the current system suits him just fine.

He's got 250 THOUSAND reasons to like the current system.

Clowns who play a FREAKIN' GAME for a living should shut their pie-holes. Worthless turds like Justin Mapp should be thankful that they're not homeless.

Posted by: khan1 | February 26, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

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