Garber Possibly Prevented MLS Drama With Quick Response To RSL
MLS Commissioner Don Garber's "quick reaction" to the situation surrounding RSL Owner Dell Loy Hansen was "crucial in preventing what might have become a drawn-out and damaging soap opera that could have done permanent damage to the league," according to Kevin Baxter of the L.A. TIMES. It "may help repair some of the damage Garber himself had done to the relationship between the league and its players." One day before Hansen's downfall began, Garber and the MLS BOG "badly misread the reaction to the NBA players' decision to boycott their games," issuing a two-paragraph statement in which they "condemned racism but mentioned nothing about postponing games, hoping the issue would go away." By then, however, "momentum for a boycott was building among MLS players." The players were "understandably irate," as they were the ones who "had the courage to put racism and social injustice ahead of a game -- and their jobs -- acting forcefully while the commissioner had dithered." In response, Garber "pushed the players out of the way in an effort to take the moral high ground, reopening wounds first inflicted in June," when the commissioner "threatened to lock the players out if they didn’t agree to changes in a collective bargaining agreement the league had already accepted." Baxter: "Give Garber credit for changing course." When Hansen "insisted playing should come before protesting, undoubtedly giving voice to opinions other MLS owners held privately," the commissioner "quickly condemned the comments" (L.A. TIMES, 9/1).