The following is a post by Nate Dinsdale.
I came across the following memo left on a CVS copy machine downstairs from MLS headquarters in midtown Manhattan. Thought I’d share.
Iron Front Signage Policy *Addendum*
Following a recent meeting with The Don, long-time MLS owner and noted massage enthusiast Bob Kraft, as well as representatives from prospective diamond-level sponsors Chick-Fil-A, Juul Labs, and Hobby Lobby, we want to close the loop on the Iron Front dialogue while also expanding it with a clear written message you can share with the [INSERT SUPPORTERS GROUP NAME HERE].
The Iron Front iconography — originally created by those resisting the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (or “Nazis” for short) — is an anti-fascist symbol that has clearly been appropriated by anti-fascists amid the current rise of what a casual observer might call “fascism” in the national discourse.
But there are very fine people on both sides. And after checking our Suggestion Box at the MLS corporate wine mixer in Orlando over the All-Star break, we’ve learned that the symbol causes some discomfort when displayed by anti-fascist, anti-racist, pro-equality supporters groups like the [INSERT SUPPORTERS GROUP NAME HERE].
As a result, we will be enforcing strict punishments for any Iron Front tifo, two-sticks, or other coordinated displays, starting with multi-game bans for violators.
The recently revised MLS Fan Code of Conduct clearly states:
Using (including on any sign or other visible representation) political, threatening, abusive, insulting, offensive language and/or gestures, which includes racist, homophobic, xenophobic, sexist or otherwise inappropriate language or behavior
And what is more “political” than a symbol of resistance against racist, homophobic, xenophobic, sexist language or behavior?
We’re glad you asked. We would like to use this opportunity to provide additional clarification on other symbols that could be considered political and thus subject to the Iron Front Rule:
To be specific, any flags, pins, signs, patches, ribbons or other visible markings that include the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple in sequential order. While this may appear to some as a symbol for inclusion vis-à-vis the LGBTQ community, it can be seen as exclusionary of those who do not subscribe to basic human equality or care to develop an acute appreciation for Judy Garland. Plus, it’s a possible affront to the color-blind who may experience confusion by all those flags sporting multiple hues of gray. BANNED
Peace Sign/Dove + Olive Branch
It may seem ubiquitous, but the peace sign (☮) is anything but harmless. Its association with leftist counterculture movements and people who say “Military Industrial Complex” like it’s a bad thing could prove divisive. As for doves, well, they’re basically elitist pigeons. BANNED
The image of a clenched fist has come to represent solidarity, particularly for progressive activists, blue-collar workers, and people with higher levels of melanin than your average Norwegian. But it can also be construed as a signal of aggression and/or support for different forms of impolite resistance. Plus, our research intern came across some pretty unsavory definitions of “fisting” on the internet. BANNED
These audacious botanical marvels remind us of our childlike innocence before it was traded for some TAM and GAM. And we recognize that sunflowers have become a deeply heart-warming symbol for certain supporters groups. But they do require a substantial amount of water to be properly cultivated, and we’re thinking about the environment here. Maybe a nice non-threatening air plant or neutral-party cactus instead? Plus, there could be cultural appropriation claims pending from Sporting Kansas City. BANNED
The Color Pink
Or “salmon,” depending on your Crayola set of references. In the past, pink symbolized breast cancer awareness, but then we focus-grouped it and discovered that some customers find it’s not particularly intimidating on a kit. In addition, there’s a potential gender discrimination suit given many of our middle-aged male fans also have what a clinician might reasonably classify as “breasts.” But it’s far from us to adjudicate whether this is because of natural physiology or from regularly succumbing to the new Smokehouse BBQ Bacon Sandwich at Chick-Fil-A. BANNED
MLS Presents The #DontCrossTheLine Campaign Sponsored by Continental Tires
Now we’re talking about a real, meaningful call for social change. PLUS, for a limited time you can stand up against bigotry and get $50 off your next set of radials when you tag your social posts #MLSworks #TIREDofRacism. ALLOWED
We hope this clarifies the issue. As we often say, we won’t always agree but we will always be open, honest, and respectful. We have a track record of being cooperative and working with [INSERT SUPPORTERS GROUP NAME HERE] on a variety of potentially divisive issues that together we have resolved in a positive and peaceful way. It is our sincere hope that this is another case of just that.