This morning Real Salt Lake sent out a message via Twitter.
Understandably, this has caused some anger (myself included) across Chicago Fire Country. The problem is that right now, no one is talking. We don't know the full story and a couple of possibilities of how everyone got to this point exist. Even if people start talking, we probably won't ever have the full 100% picture. Let's take a step back and consider all the possibilities. Once we do that, you just might not be so angry....
1. C.J. Brown did not want to be the assistant coach for the Chicago Fire but the Chicago Fire wanted him to be the assistant coach
C.J. was born in Eugene, Oregon. He played soccer collegiality at San Jose State. Before coming to the Chicago Fire, Brown played for the San Fransisco Bay Seals. It is quite possible he is done with Chicago or wants to take a break from the city and be closer to the West Coast. He would not be the first one to want to leave Chicago after more than a dozen of our winters.
It's possible he wants to go to a different environment. How many of us have left a situation just because we want to try something new? Maybe he thinks he has conquered the Chicago landscape and it's time for a new challenge.
Maybe he didn't want to work under Carlos de los Cobos. Maybe he only wanted to be the head coach and the Chicago Fire did not want to fire Carlos de los Cobos. Maybe he wants to work with Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jason Kreis and study under someone who went from straight from being a player to being a successful head coach. I don't mean to go all "What should he do?" on you but there are many different rational reasons for C.J. to not want to work for the Chicago Fire at this point in time.
2. C.J. Brown wanted to be the assistant coach for the Chicago Fire but someone in the front office did not want him to be the assistant coach
You are Carlos de los Cobos. You are on the hot seat with a good portion of the fans already. The last thing you need is a local legend and fan favorite sitting next to you on the bench. A couple of losses in to the season, all of the sudden everyone starts chanting "Cee--- Jay---! Cee---- Jay---!" at the end of games when the Fire are losing. At practice, some of the players turn to C.J. Brown first because they have known him longer than you. It becomes a co-coaching setup in practice if not in theory. If you can avoid that situation, you almost certainly will.
You are Frank Klopas. You have had a great knack for collecting talent but putting the puzzle together has not happened just yet. Again, do you want a local legend lurking around in the organization to potentially replace you? Do you want to hire C.J. knowing the situation above is a possibility? That would just be a horrible side show. As Technical Director, you work to avoid that kind of thing from happening for the good of the club.
3. C.J. Brown did not want to be the assistant coach for the Chicago Fire and the Chicago Fire did not want him to the assistant coach
Let's say Frank Klopas, Carlos de los Cobos, and C.J. Brown had a formal meeting. Or maybe they all just happened to be at the hotel bar waiting for everyone else to come down the stairs sometime this season. Or perhaps they were the last three to leave the 2-0 victory celebration over Columbus on October 8, 2010. Whatever the case, the three of them talked over a situation where C.J. would be the assistant coach and it was mutually decided between the three of them that Brown being the assistant coach would be an undesirable situation.
We could go through this all day. Perhaps C.J. Brown thought he should be paid more and the Chicago Fire wouldn't up their price. Going back to scenario 2, do you think that C.J. Brown even would want to be on the bench while the fans were shouting for him over Carlos de los Cobos? C.J. is much more of a class act than that.
It's often tough to think rationally about these kind of things because sports are so irrational by nature. We hate a player for a decade and then all of the sudden he comes onto our team and we love him. A player who negatively impacts the team but has a knack for scoring goals at crucial times even if he's just replacing goals he gave up gets called a hero. In a world where everything is Ws, Ls, or Ds and games can be decided by a flick of a shoe or slipping on a single blade of grass it's not only easy to jump conclusions, it's encouraged.
Congratulations to Real Salt Lake. You are getting a class act. Congratulations to C.J. Brown. Thank you again for the memories. May you both succeed every time you aren't playing the Chicago Fire. C.J., I hope we haven't seen you wear the Chicago Fire badge on our sidelines for the last time.
As for the Chicago Fire, your verdict is undecided despite the numerous charges being lobbed against you. If someone is guilty of malpractice here, you will not find a fiercer critic. This being America though, I'm saying you are innocent until proven guilty.