Monday, August 10, 2020

MLS "operating out of strength"

MLS released a pandemic schedule of games and they are allowing fans to attend. As of this writing, the official league release states that "the majority of the matches will be played without fans," but that is PR speak to keep the critical voices at bay. Don Garber has made it clear that he wants fans in attendance.

Here are a couple quotes from the Commissioner (Aug 8):

“I never believed, and I know our owners and staffs never believed, in quitting when we’re ahead, and we’ve not been ahead a whole lot. … We’ve accepted the fact that we’re going to have challenges.”

“The alternative is to make the decision to not go forward, and operate out of fear as opposed to operating out of strength, and out of confidence.”

This is good old fashioned by the book business speak from the early aughts. It's great when you are tackling challenges from competitors or trying to rally the troops for a peak season of sales, but man does it miss the mark when talking about a virus that is causing illness and pain to hundreds of thousands in the United States.

It's important to remember the utter devastation Covid-19 is causing. Outside of the physical illness, you have the pain associated with not being able to be with family members and friends in a hospital for any reason. Daycares and schools not reopening and forcing duel income homes to figure something else out. You have something close to 20 million working-age and able citizens out of work right now and all fighting for the same handful of jobs.

Needless to say, it's an incredibly stressful time for Americans and we may not know the fallout from it for years to come.

With that in mind, it's very easy to understand why people might be pissed off at MLS for using corporate-speak as a weapon to reopen the gates. I mean; kids across the country can't go to school, but I can get a ticket to a Crew game?

It's not necessarily about the safety of fans, players and staff at games. It's about looking back after all the bodies have been counted and being able to stay you did everything you could to keep it from being worse.

MLS has chosen to "operate out of strength" instead of thoughtfulness and compassion by allowing fans into games.

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