MLS Fire Officials Defend Editorial On Team's Site Addressing Disruptive Fan Behavior
MLS Fire Senior Dir of Communications Dan Lobring on Wednesday posted a 1,400-word blog post that "criticized disruptive fan behavior" during a recent match at Toyota Park, and after the entry generated local and national media attention, team officials have defended the post, according to Jack McCarthy of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Fire execs say that a "small group of unruly fans’ misbehavior and personal attacks on management and staff are the issues, not the message." The post said that Fire Owner Andrew Hauptman had endured "personal attacks" by an unidentified group of fans during the team's loss to DC United in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals earlier this month, and that the attacks "were unwarranted." Fire COO Atul Khosla said, "Dan (was) highlighting that issue. And absolutely by no means is trying to disrespect the majority of the fan base that’s incredibly passionate and comes out every single game. ... We could have made (that) a little clearer." The post, labeled as an editorial, drew a bevy of comments on Twitter and also was covered by Deadspin. Senior Fire management "reviewed and endorsed Lobring's commentary before publication." Khosla: "It’s his point of view, but it’s not being published without me reading it or me saying 'OK.'" Hauptman said of the situation, "What I believe he was trying to communicate was that our staff, our players and our ownership care deeply about the club and we try ... to act with respect, integrity and responsibility, and we expect our fans to uphold those same standards" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/23).
DID HAUPTMAN PLAY A ROLE HERE? In Chicago, Seth Gruen reports Hauptman during the U.S. Open Cup game was "chastised by a number of fans in the stands." He lives in L.A. and "doesn’t attend every game." Numerous sources said that Hauptman is "image-conscious." One source added that this "could be Hauptman's shortcoming." The source said, "That’s Andrew’s downfall as an owner: He thinks he can control the message when there’s word of mouth to undermine his efforts" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/23).