The following is a post from Steph Nova.
Can I call you Don? I just feel like I’ve become so familiar with you and your spinelessness that I’ll go with Don rather than “Mr. Garber” or some other form of honorific.
I’ve got to admit, I’m curious what led you to decide that it was a great idea to tell people that the Iron Front is banned imagery because it’s considered “political,” yet the league doesn’t disallow folks to go to matches wearing MAGA hats or various political campaign tees.
Actually, I don’t want an explanation, but I do want you to realize this:
By banning the Iron Front and bringing attention to the matter, you’ve caused a tremendous amount of people to look into what it means and why it’s causing such a stir. You’ve opened people’s eyes to a movement that focuses on people being treated fairly and equally in society.
The growing mass of people educating themselves on the history of the Iron Front is directly influenced by you making the call to ban it.
Looks like you shot yourself in the foot there, bud.
Additionally, a lot of supporters have decided to boycott spending money in stadiums and on merchandise related to teams or MLS as those profits go straight to the league as a whole. Not only have you caused people to boycott concession and merch sales in Portland, but you’ve pissed off people in Atlanta and Los Angeles, your biggest cash cows. Whoops.
Guess you shot yourself in the other foot there, too. Dang.
There’s a way out of this, and it is incredibly simple:
- Lift the ban on the Iron Front. It’s not doing you or the league any favors to keep attempting to suppress people’s right to express support for equal rights for all.
- Withdraw the word “political” from the MLS Code of Conduct. The league clearly picks and chooses when to uphold this particular rule, and as such it should be removed. If you’re going to insist on banning “political” displays, cease all pregame anthems and the inexplicable militarization of patriotism.
- Focus on inclusivity within the league. A weak “Don’t Cross the Line” campaign may seem like enough to you, but promoting true inclusivity is a way to make more people feel welcome at matches, more comfortable with joining our various soccer communities, and expands the fanbase (which so many teams desperately need. Don’t act like it’s not important to you to get butts in seats in Carson, Columbus, and San Jose).
This isn’t a difficult hole to dig yourself out of, Don. Edit a couple of words on the code of conduct, treat all people with dignity and respect (unless they’re being hateful jerks, in which case make sure security is fully trained in how to handle those situations), and cease your bizarre crusade against the displaying of the Iron Front symbol.
These are the fastest and most effective way to save face as this issue has been gaining traction worldwide, and it’ll start putting money back in the league’s pocket.
Focus on those profits, Don. After all, the cash is all that matters to you.