Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Internet is a Psycho Hose Beast: MLS Edition

Since everyone seems to be jumping on the Free Agency Timeline bandwagon, I thought I'd hop on too I and look at how the MLS bloggers have sneezed blood over the weekend, all from some coordinated player remarks on free agency made on Friday, and MLS president Mark Abbott's subsequent response.

Friday, February 19th, 2010 (Player Tweets, Facebook, Ives, Snowden, Carlisle)
  • Ives: "Key among the issues being fought over are player free agency and team autonomy in player transactions."
  • Snowden: "But say what you will about Wal-Mart - their employees at least have much more freedom than MLS players do when it comes to movement."
Saturday, February 20th, 2010 (Player Propaganda, Question for Mark Abbott, Old Soviet Union)
  •  Davis:  "As for Snowden and his latest salvo at Soccer365, it loses some of its thunder in light of his past efforts."
  • Goff: "But what is the harm in a player declaring his intent to remain in MLS but wanting to play for a different club?"  
  • Tomasch: "If you don’t want a player, why shouldn’t he be free to seek employment elsewhere (like any other worker in any other field in America)?"
  • Goff on Twitter: "Source close to players, about #mls cba talks: "It's like the old Soviet Union--everyone knows the system stinks and is holding things back."
Sunday, February 21st, 2010 (Will Players Strike Over Free Agency?)
  • Rollins: "However, what is clear is that this could get messy this week."
  • Archer: "So what the players have done, after the smoke clears, is given every writer, blogger, journalist and Ontario-based fantasist a question that they can now ask every single player, every chance they get: 'Will you strike?'"
  • Clive: "Fans taking a stand on free agency doesn’t make much sense given that most people don’t understand the underlying economics of the league’s long term strategy."
  • Tomasch: "If you want the player, pay the player. If you don’t want the player, don’t hold the player hostage."
Monday, February 22nd, 2010 (The Internet Goes Crazy)
  • Goff: "Dear Mr. Anschutz Thank you for your time, sir. Can I call you Phil? No? Okay, no worries."
  • Loney: "Dear Mr. Goff, Thank you for your letter, Steve. Can I call you Steve? Let me answer that for you."
  • Ives: "How exactly would free agency within MLS hurt the league as long as the league has a salary cap? It really can’t, not from the standpoint where skyrocketing salaries would be a concern."
  • Sirk: "And that's what happens with internal free agency in MLS. It dilutes the purchasing power of any salary budget, regardless of dollar amount, and simultaneously places inflationary pressure on that salary budget. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
  • Clive: "Allowing free agency would be a nail in the single entity coffin, which explains the league’s reluctance to entertain the idea."
  • Fake Sigi:  "My original thought on the single entity thing was that the more teams acted like they were competing with each other, the less a court would be able to consider MLS a single entity."
  • Davis: "What you have seen from Mark Abbott is "free agency wouldn't be good for the league" and similar quotes. That's it, no official league explanation. Now, plenty of people have made up explanations."
  • Rollins: "Nothing is getting sourced right now. If you want to share information you receive about the actual negotiation, you have to go anonymous because it ain't getting out otherwise."



Jason Davis said...

This is what leads to cabins, manifestos, and bomb plots.

I fear for all of us.

elliott said...

I just don't understand why, if the CBA is not ideal, the players don't ask for a shorter timeframe.

Like, make it good for 2 years and then fight the battle then.

Richard Whittall said...

I don't know. It's hard to know when all we have is a bunch of bullshit from Friday to work with.

But my hunch is that you could see a split emerge if the Union goes to the wall on this issue. I mean, I think rejecting any form of free agency on the grounds that it will cause internal player inflation (nonsense, really), or would make it easier for players to launch an antitrust case (highly dubious), seems dumb.

But then again, how many MLS players are really effected by the worse case scenario of being released by their club and then floating in limbo until another club poneys up or negotiates a trade? Will the players kill their season for that?

Kenn Tomasch said...

I would think it unlikely that there'd be an antitrust challenge. The last one didn't go so well for the players.

It would be kind of hard to make the case to a rank and file that believes it's (a) underpaid and (b) devoid of the working conditions it seeks that mounting an expensive legal battle with an unlikely chance of success would be the way to go.