Thursday, October 29, 2009

Kevin Payne's fine = Complete joke

So once again, right here on the cusp of the playoffs, when we should all be feeling good about MLS and the competition and the soon-to-be champion, we get reality smacking us in the face that this is a league that is run by a bunch of marketing executives who think that selling toothpaste is the same as running a sports league.

DC DC United president Kevin Payne was fined $5,000 dollars for telling the Washington Post's Steven Goff: "We don't want to play like Colorado or New England, which most of the season sat with eight or nine guys behind the ball. How many people go to watch Colorado or New England play? That's a problem for our league. We can't play like we're a team desperately trying to remain in 14th place in the Premiership. Our market isn't there yet. They want to see something that is entertaining, and DC United has always had a way of playing. Given a choice, we would rather attack than cynically defend. You look at the way Real Salt Lake played when they came here [a 0-0 tie in May] and sat 10 guys behind the ball. You don’t have to do that. Sometimes that is the best way to get a result – if you don’t care about the product, if you don’t care about advertising your league. Long term, who wants to watch that?"

The fine was levied directly by MLS commissioner Don Garber. The official announcement referred to Payne's comments as "detrimental to the public image of the League."

This is nonsensical. Payne was right on the money. Teams that play back, that play anti-football, need to be called out for doing that. No matter what you think about DCU, the sentiment he expressed needed to be said.

I think this is wonderful, like when Landon Donovan incited the crowd in Dallas a few years ago. This is one of those things that makes sports fun.

What's worse is the fact that it would have been so much better for Garber to say something along the lines of: "Well, that's Kevin Payne's opinion and he's entitled to it. If I were New England or Colorado, I might take offense to it, but they can settle that on the field."

Now THAT'S what a commissioner ought to say. Here's where you see a look into the kind of "leader" that Garber is, and by extension, the kind of organization that MLS is: Way, way too much marketing and placement thinking and way, way too little competition and fire. Stir the pot. Get people talking about something real instead of something you're trying to make them talk about through preordained advertising.

This is nonsense and it's Garber, not Payne, who has put the league in a bad light.


Mandy said...

yes! just sat through a 0-0 sea-hou game.

Martek said...

Mandy, I expect you Timbers to paint the town Orange on Nov. 8, when Dynamo bounce the Greens, Kevin Payne style.