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MLS players' union response

Some players spoke out about the labor negotiations. MLS felt obligated to respond to the players. Now the players' union has answered MLS. (Merry-go-rounds bring back fond childhood memories, don't they?)

Executive director Bob Foose: "Recent comments from players simply reflect the fact that the players are unified and, per the results of our strike vote, will not begin the new season if a new agreement with the league is not reached. This is not a change in position by the union and should not be read to reflect in any way upon what has, or has not, occurred this week in the meetings with the mediator and the league."

By Steve Goff  |  March 11, 2010; 8:14 PM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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Hopefully the threat of a strike is just a "don't mess with us" stance from the players so their side won't be treated dismissively.

Meanwhile, on Telefutura right now, Cruz Azul has gone into a 2-ring circus in Panama to face Arabe Unido in the Concachampions quarterfinals.

It's a 2-ring circus because there is a baseball game (it looks professional) going on in a similar sized facility which shares the back fence behind one of the goals. So if someone in the baseball game hits one over the center right field fence it's going to land right in the middle of Arabe Unido - Cruz Azul.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | March 11, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Foose, just shut up!

Posted by: Hoost | March 11, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Abbott, just shut up!

Seriously, the players didn't say anything out of turn. Garcia -- whether he did it on his own or whether he was selected -- made public the players' almost unanimous willingness to strike rather than go ahead under the old CBA. Abbott wants to score some PR points by making it seem they've breached some agreement not to discuss negotiations in public. Really, how is Garcia's statement any different than the league's own public declaration that it is prepared to go ahead for another year under the old CBA (which the owners already knew the players absolutely rejected)? Both sides have expressed what they're prepared to do if no new deal is reached. Get on with the talks.

Posted by: fischy | March 11, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

This is turning out to be a soap opera. The owners, the players, their representatives, and their designated sources-who-wish-to-remain-anonymous should all shut up.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 11, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

I am amazed at how a sport that is in its nascent stage can commit harakiri. I implore them to look at the history of soccer in this country and not destroy the first real chance for it to succeed.

Posted by: bdwooton | March 11, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

So, will my daughter's DC United shirt be worth some nastalgia cash in 20-30 years when the World Cup comes back to the US and we're getting ready to start the (next) league thats going to bring soccer to the American masses? Because, oh by the way, if MLS goes toes up because of this, our chances of scoring the World Cup in 2022 SHARPLY diminish. Just my opinion.

Posted by: daandre3 | March 11, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Does a strike mean that more of Steve's travel budget can go towards South Africa? First class tickets and five star hotels!

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 11, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

I just had a thought: you know what is going to really suck? If the Columbus Crew do the unthinkable and pull out MLS's first ever meaningful win in Mexico next week...only to have the players go on strike the following week, and that strike lasts past the scheduled CCL semifinal round, meaning the Crew likely forfeit their place.

C'mon, you owners and players. As Larry the Cable Guy would say, "Git-r-done!"

Posted by: SportzNut21 | March 11, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Reposting from old post:

"Most people in America don't have a guaranteed contract, why should they get one in this economy?"

Futboler, my friend, your analogy SUCKS.

So imagine this: employers in your field may hire employees to start on January 1st. You like what Company X has to offer, and take a job with them, but another employee comes back from FMLA leave on Feb. 22, so you get fired.

Only on January 1st of NEXT year are you eligble to be re-employed in your field. In the meantime, with no paycheck, you have to take a job not in your field... how does frying chicken at KFC for the next ten months sound?

Posted by: Mastodon_Juan

All of this free agency stuff is crazy in my view. This is one business, not multiple businesses. One company (MLS) hires employees and assigns them to the offices that need them the most. If you work in construction and your company has a big project in LA, you're moving to LA or you're out of a job. Next year when the LA job is done if the work is in Texas, you're in Texas or you can quit. The players are spoiled babies. It might work to strike in leagues where people pay hundreds of millions of dollars, thats leverage. But MLS players don't generate that much interest or revenue, ergo no leverage. You can't argue MLS is a monopoly because there are multiple other opportunities within the US (USL, indoor soccer, etc.).

Like someone else said, the players are getting a deal to play. If they don't like it, fine. Quit. Strike. Go work somewhere else. If MLS can't find suitable replacement help, then they won't survive. If they can, they will. But i'm thinking MLS players will eventually blink first. Either that or MLS dissappears and we all just stick with EPL, etc.

Posted by: Brian76 | March 11, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

One week into training, 2nd division Portland Timbers just knocked Seattle's dick in the dirt... I hear all the commentators said,"Seattle dominated" yet couldn't score against Cronin...

Sorry to gloat, but there have got to be some mighty giddy TA yuckin'it up in the SODO right about now...

Posted by: DadRyan | March 11, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

By the way, this has to be the worst year to strike. With the World Cup, who is going to miss MLS? Heck, if DCU leaves DC i'm not going to follow MLS anyway, so I won't be missing anything. I still care more about a soccer specific stadium in DC more than I do the players strike. I'm actually glad if the strike happens if it extends Donovan's loan deal.

Posted by: Brian76 | March 11, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Talk about hyperbole dadryan...Portland were the worse team except for the miscue on defense by Marshal...

Posted by: etj1304 | March 11, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Miscue by Marshal? What's new?

You can't win if you don't score regardless of how many male cheerleaders show up to give each other awesome high fives.

Posted by: DadRyan | March 11, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

"This is one business, not multiple businesses"

That, sir, is syllogism. It begs the question. How is it one business, if it has multiple franchises, most of which have different owners? Not to mention the fact that the league's ultimate intention is to have separate ownership for each franchise.

There are 16 franchises that are in competition with each other -- on the field, and in the effort to find/recruit talent...except in one respect: They have a code -- they don't compete for another team's players, or even a certain class of ex-players, unless the other team agrees to some compensation. If a team has drafted a player, put in a discovery claim, or has a previous contract with the player, then it's hands-off. Otherwise, it's a wide-open competition. I understand, more or less, why the owners might want to keep that code in place, but I'm not sure why anyone thinks the players are misguided for wanting to free it up a little more.

The fact is it is a monopoly. MLS has a monopoly on first-division professional soccer in this country, as the only such league approved by FIFA, which maintains its own global monopoly in the regulation of professional and international soccer. There are reasons to maintain that structure -- to a point. The power of a team to indefinitely extend its employment rights to a player is one that has been rejected worldwide. Except, of course, in MLS.

Posted by: fischy | March 12, 2010 12:15 AM | Report abuse

"The players are spoiled babies."

Posted by: Brian76


Yeah, because being a soccer player in the U.S. means you're on easy street (rolls eyes). Wow.

You can try to make the single entity argument for why the league's policies don't affect the players' right to practice their profession in the U.S. but it doesn't hold water. Currently, if your contract is up but you are still good enough to be a first division player in your own country MLS still controls where your play and for how much...or you can leave the country! In what other profession is that OK??? It's BS.

And just because it's called "playing" soccer doesn't mean that they are not professionals who have worked very hard to get good enough to be paid. (That "play" comment really makes me go ballistic.)

Good for the players! Stick together and demand the basic rights provided to players around the world.

Brian76, I'm going to suggest you find a new sport to follow where the "players" aren't such "babies." They don't need "supporters" like you.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | March 12, 2010 2:35 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: 9Nine9 | March 12, 2010 7:15 AM | Report abuse

You can't win if you don't score regardless of how many male cheerleaders show up to give each other awesome high fives.

Posted by: DadRyan

Hilarious :)

It's not like anyone could see the game outside of Portland, anyway, so all we know is the scoreline. Oh, and I hope all of the assists were reported accurately.

Posted by: Reignking | March 12, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

I think Foose is a boob. The players could have kept their stance to themselves until the mediation was over. It was a classless and baseless move by the players to try and take the uppper hand and to me personally they came across as petty adn disgruntled employees. If the players strike I really think that it will be the end of MLS, but there is still hope.

Posted by: no_recess | March 12, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

I have two kids in travel soccer, and their season is about to begin. March Madness is about to begin. Champions League is underway. Washington Freedom begin next month. World Cup in June. Then vacation. Then college/pro football, then fall travel soccer...

I have plenty of options. So from now on, my reaction to strike news is: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ...

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | March 12, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

The game was at Qwest Reignking, but considering it wasn't a "sell out" and that they lost to a 2nd division side that just started training you probably won't hear much of it.

Posted by: DadRyan | March 12, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: jburksva | March 12, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

The fact is it [MLS] is a monopoly.
Posted by: fischy

Please cite the court decision on this fact.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 12, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Alright that's it! Quiet car until the next rest stop!

Posted by: OWNTF | March 12, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

You jock sniffers are driving me crazy. None of you really know the facts, but blindly side with these guys. See you at the Nationals games this summer.

Posted by: mbyrd28 | March 12, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Fischy: Not sure what syllogism is so forgive the ignorance, but I still maintain that MLS is one business. Heck, i'd argue that about the NFL or MLB to be honest. Nobody would pay to see the Yankees scrimmage each other all year long (or at least not much for very long). MLB is what people pay to see, the competition defined and managed by a group of businesses. But MLS intentionally set it up to be one business, where each investor had a certain control of their franchise sure, but they are only in competition with each other on the field, not for your $. MLS is in competition with the NFL, EPL, the museum, etc. for your money. If Philly makes money, DC United makes money. If Seattle gets MLS a big TV contract, DC united gets paid. Thats the reason there is revenue sharing in the other sports, because they are not in competition with each other, they actually rely on the other parties existance and well being. You can't compare a sports league to rival businesses like UPS and FedEx. Does FedEx share its Revenue with UPS? Does mcdonalds agree not to open a restaurant where wendys already is? Is google limited to hiring only 1000 employees and does it have a maximum amount it can spend on employee salaries? Of course not. If anything, a sports league is illegally colluding if it has a salary cap, and restricting free enterprise if it ditacts where a franchise can be located, etc. But if all the owners agree to it, how is it a problem?

I'm not saying the players can't strike, that's certainly their right. But i don't understand how the players should be able to dictate the terms someone else runs their own business. They can say i won't work for you unless you offer healthcare, but unless the terms of the contracts are illegal i dont get it. Of course i guess that's what they are arguing, i just personally disagree.

Then again i don't see how its legal for the state to ban smoking in a restaurant for example if the owner, worker and patron all don't care.....and i dont even smoke and prefer non smoking restaurants. Just seems like if someone wants that, they should be able to have that.

Posted by: Brian76 | March 12, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse


The players are spoiled. They think they are entitled to something that most other people don't get. To be sure, other professional athletes are more spoiled. So are actors, models, etc. Doesn't mean i'll stop watching tv or movies, and don't expect me to feel sorry for them either. A JC Penney model is getting paid to stand there, just like a Victoria's Secret model. Are they paid as much, no, but its still an easy job.

Do the players care about me? I'm paying their salary, letting them do what they love for money because i enjoy watching them do it. And they just want more money from me. If they cared about the fans, they'd keep playing and take the owners to court if the owners are doing something illegal. But they aren't, they're just trying to get more $$ from the owners who will end up passing that cost on to me. The owners won't suffer i can guarantee that. If they really care about the fans, then if they strike, they should come play at local soccer fields for the fans for free so we can enjoy it since they can afford to take off work for months at a time.

And who says that players out of a contract can't go work somewhere else? What's the difference between USL and MLS but the name? Why can't the players go play for Crystal Palace Baltimore or the Baltimore Blast? Is it anything besides the salaries?

Look, i'm not saying the MLS players don't have legitimate complaints, but i dont see how what MLS is doing is illegal. And if its not illegal then don't work for them, go work somewhere else if you don't like it. If all the good players went to work as the USL, then that would become the 1st division by default would it not?

The players think they have enough leverage to get a better deal out of the owners, and maybe they do. Maybe they don't, only time will tell. I still say they are lucky SOBs who don't know how good they have it.

Posted by: Brian76 | March 12, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

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