It's always hard to settle into a new job. Everything smells weird. When you're the boss, it's worse. No one will tell you the truth except for those people who use facts like cudgels. You smile and smile and then you realize everything thinks it's creepy. You've gotta do something to break the ice, something to show that this isn't now a "Me" and a "All y'all who are being evaluated by me" - it's a great big "Us."
And so, we have Nelson Rodriguez breaking the ice with the rest of the executive class of the Chicago Fire, showing that he, too, is one of their pratfalling number by breaking out one of the classic executive blunders: The Easily-Avoided Gaffe. In a speech to GotSoccer conference, Rodriguez joked that he was "surprised Eric [Wynalda] can read" to an audience that included the one-time Fire striker.
Spoke w/ a club official regarding Nelson Rodriguez's comment about Eric Wynalda. #cf97 (1/3)— Jeff Krause (@DFBJeff) November 17, 2015
Said comment was made in a joking nature between "two friends," didn't know Wynalda was dyslexic, and did not mean any ill will or... #cf97— Jeff Krause (@DFBJeff) November 17, 2015
....insensitivity by making the comment. Nelson Rodriguez has reached out to Eric to apologize. #cf97— Jeff Krause (@DFBJeff) November 17, 2015
Rodriguez is also writing a letter to all involved in panel discussion where comment was made to clarify and apologize as well. #cf97— Jeff Krause (@DFBJeff) November 17, 2015
Wynalda is apparently livid at the slight, and spent a portion of his Sirius XM radio show on Monday talking about the subject. He characterized Rodriguez' speech at the conference as 'condescending and arrogant' and said for Fire fans to prepare for 'more of the same.'
More alarmingly, Wynalda also said he's "done supporting the Fire" and "cannot wait for the the Sting. I love Chicago. I love the fans. That city was great to me. I just can't support that club any more."
In his single season in a Fire shirt, Wynalda tallied 10 goals in 21 appearances. He later chose to wear the Fire kit in his Hall of Fame induction.
So, well played, Mr. Rodriguez. The holidays are surely going to be a lot easier - I wouldn't be surprised if you're approached about Secret Santa later today. That is, now that everyone knows you're just another one of the guys.