MLSPA Reps Criticize Garber, MLS Owners For Negotiating Tactics
Minnesota United MF and MLSPA Exec Board member Ethan Finlay accused MLS owners and league execs of "bullying" and using "power plays" during the tense, high-stakes negotiations which resulted in the players on Wednesday ratifying a revised CBA, according to Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. MLS Commissioner Don Garber's threat on Sunday to lock players out if an agreement was not reached left Finlay "critical of the league after the two sides had reached the February agreement in what he called a 'partnership.'" Garber said that the league has taken a $1B "hit from lost revenue in a league suspended after it played the season’s first two games in March." Finlay on Thursday said that the players "agreed to salary cuts and other concessions reaching $100 million or more in this new deal." He said that such a path in reaching an agreement has "damaged work done when the two sides agreed in February to that new labor deal." He said, "We came out of that CBA we agreed upon Feb. 6 and believed we really started a partnership with the league. It had taken a long time, but we thought we were started to be treated a little bit fair and I think we’ve taken many steps back from that, just how things were handled from the league side to the player side" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 6/5).
NO LOVE LOST IN ATL: In Atlanta, Doug Roberson writes Atlanta United D and MLSPA Exec Board member Jeff Larentowicz during a Thursday Zoom call on CBA negotiations "didn’t hold back in criticizing MLS and commissioner Don Garber over and over." Larentowicz "described Garber’s threat to lock out the players as 'disgusting' and 'bullying.'" He described the league’s "intention to the force majeure clause, arguably the key sticking point in the negotiations, as characteristically 'over the top and somewhat nonsensical.'" Larentowicz seemed "most aggrieved" by Garber’s lock-out strategy. He said, “To make that threat, on the heels of them asking for collaboration in an open discussion to find a way to get through a difficult time really doesn’t sit well with me at all. It will take me a bit of time to get past that myself.” Atlanta United G Alec Kann agreed, saying that the league "lost a lot of credibility with the players after threatening to lock them out in the middle of a pandemic and amid the economic and social currently upheavals happening in America" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 6/5).
MASTER NEGOTIATOR: In Miami, Michelle Kaufman writes Inter Miami CF GK and MLSPA Exec Board member Luis Robles "made it a point to praise the 85-player bargaining committee and his fellow board members" for their work in finalizing the revised CBA. Garber during a Wednesday conference call "singled Robles out for his leadership, but Robles said that was 'unfair' to all the other players who worked so hard on the deal." Robles: “I’m very proud of the commitment, dedication and resolve our players showed in this situation. We demonstrated why the players association is the voice of the players" (MIAMI HERALD, 6/5).