Friday, November 09, 2012

Is It An Apology Or An Excuse?

by Dick Mac
At the MLS website, Commissioner Don Garber attempts to apologize to Red Bull fans for his massive blunder.  So, in case the injury of stupidly falling out of the playoffs isn't enough for us, the Commissioner has decided to rub a little salt in the wound:
To: MLS Fans
I want to apologize to all of our fans who were impacted by our decision last night to postpone the New York Red Bulls v D.C. United playoff game at Red Bull Arena.  Many of you made great sacrifices to attend the game and we let you down.
Based on the weather forecasts earlier in the day, we believed that we could still play the game.  As you know, soccer is played in inclement weather and we have cancelled very few games in the history of the League.   In this case, however, we underestimated the severity of the storm and its effect on our ability to play, and ultimately the enormous impact it had on our fans who traveled to and from Red Bull Arena.
I have heard from many of you about our decision to wait until after the scheduled start time to postpone the game and I know that many of our fans believe that we should have made the decision earlier in the day or even the day before.  In retrospect, I wish we had.  Although I believe that our intent in trying to preserve the ability to play the match was well meaning, in the end we would have better served our clubs and our fans by making the decision earlier. 
I can’t change what happened, but I can acknowledge when we make mistakes, even if we were well intentioned.
All of us at Major League Soccer have worked hard to earn your trust and support.  You can count on us to continue to work tirelessly to retain it as we build the League. 
Thank you,
Don Garber, MLS Comissioner

Why his letter is addressed to "MLS Fans" is insulting enough, but the entire situation is much worse than this letter describes.  Garber's treatment of MLS supporters, in general, and Red Bull supporters, in particular, is remarkable.  This is my response:

Dear Commissioner Garber:

You know what, Mr. Commissioner   This is not enough.

In this letter, you qualify your apology by explaining that you were well-intentioned.  In case you are not fluent in English, or good manners, or basic etiquette: qualifying your apology means it is not an apology, it's an excuse.

You knew the weather forecast, you knew the team objected to hosting and playing the match, you knew that hard-working fools like me would attend.  I purchased four extra tickets to the match (meaning I had 6 tickets), I traveled by public transit to Newark and walked to Harrison, I sat in that frigid cold stadium until NINE O'CLOCK, I purchased a hundred dollars worth of new wool caps in the Bull Shop and I bought hot food.  I went the distance.  I did what fans do.

You didn't let us down, you endangered us, and now cavalierly excuse yourself.

I watched fellow fans volunteer to shovel:  climb down out of the stands and move a ton or more of snow off the grass.

I watched security keep people out of empty dry seats at the north sections of the stadium because their tickets were for seats covered in snow in the south sections of the stadium.  You could have moved everyone inside, or into those dry seats, but you worried about your personal image.  You shoveled a few feet of snow for the NBC cameras and then ran inside to figure out how to cover your ass.

You moved your precious MLS staff out of the elements, leaving the part-time security team in the snow to listen to the fans' anger when you made your spineless announcement to cancel the match because you say you were concerned about our safety - but you had made no effort to move us into the warmth the 90 minutes prior to your announcement.  People were angry:  people yelled at those underpaid men who cover your ass for a part-time job with no benefits.  You owe those security people an explanation and apology as much as you owe us or anyone else.  You should also give each of them a large cash bonus.  You don't deserve them, and they deserve better than you.

Commissioner Garber:  you continue to make bad choices, year after year after year.  League structure, league schedule, television deals, league rules; year after year after year, you fail.  I have been a season ticket holder for ten years.  If I hadn't already re-upped for next year, I may not be coming back.  Next season, any decision to use my tickets will be made by my 8-year-old daughter.  If she wants to go, we'll go; but there will not be a single day I say:  'Hey, Boo, let's go to Red Bull Arena!'  And if she doesn't want to re-up for 2014, we will be gone.

I spend over four hours and $30 in tolls and parking getting to and from Brooklyn and Red Bull Arena each match (on a nice day), on top of the cost of my season tickets.  You've probably never had to find parking at Red Bull Arena so you probably don't even know that the team owns a stadium in an industrial wasteland with no parking!  You have luxury accommodations inside Red Bull Arena so you probably don't know that there is nothing to do in the area if you arrive early enough to park and see kick-off.  Red Bull Arena is a failure, a debacle, and you are lucky to have as many apologists in the league, media, and fan base who pretend it's a wonderful place.

Have you ever seen this site?:

That link is to a league that is a much better deal for me, their officiating is just as good as the joke that is MLS officiating, and although they might not have Titi, they have talented hard-working players who are fun to watch. After this debacle, Mr. Commissioner, the Brooklyn Knights are a viable option for my family's entertainment dollars.  Not because we do not love the Red Bull players; but because you cannot be trusted as a leader, and the league and team cannot be trusted because they reflect your incompetence.

You do not have my trust:  I DO NOT TRUST YOU.  You as Commissioner no longer have my support.  As long as you remain an employee of MLS in any capacity, then the league will not have my support either.  I'm done, Mr. Commissioner.  I'm done with you.  Get out of the way and take your guys (your cronies) with you:  Mark Abbott, JoAnn Neale, Dan Courtemanche, Todd Durbin, Bill Ordower, Sean Prendergast, and especially Nelson Rodriguez, who (after you) is individually the hugest embarrassment to American capitalism in all of sport.  You and your team have failed!  A New York sports writer actually stated that if the NHL wasn't on strike, you would be the worst league in America!  He's correct!

You have failed.

Please go away now.

If you and your lot will go away, I will attend MLS matches. If you stay, it's unlikely I will be around much anymore.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Basically what he is saying "Professionally I would like to Fuck You"