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Maybe we should thank Anthony Precourt

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At least the cards are on the table: MLS simply doesn’t give a f--k about its supporters

MLS: Orlando City SC at Columbus Crew SC
Kekutah Manneh being announced in April even as the evil beetles inside Anthony Precourt’s head were counting that sweet sweet relocation coin.
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

I had a friend - let’s call him Zuul, because that wasn’t his name - who, as a part of one of his periodic downward spirals, was arrested for defecating on the roses meticulously grown by his neighbor. When a constable asked what he could have been thinking, he said, “Did you see the leaves spindling? What I did was horticulture.”

It’s a rare gift, that kind of grace under pressure. Witness the delightful peregrinations of Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt, whose months of deliberate mismanagement have driven the Crew’s numbers to right about where they’ve always been. Unperturbed, Precourt launched part 0.4.2 of his multilayered social media response, casting his utter devastation of both his reputation and arguably the single most historical MLS franchise as something we’re going to have to just get through, man …

… well, not *we*, turns out …

Well at least we can count on Donnie G to stand up for America’s Azteca, the site of so many of his crowing ‘this is MLS growing American football’ pressers after so many Dos a Ceros?

“As attendance League-wide continues to grow on a record-setting pace, and markets across the country seek to join MLS, Columbus’ situation is particularly concerning,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. “Despite PSV’s significant investments and improvements on and off the field, Columbus Crew SC is near the bottom of the League in all business metrics and the club’s stadium is no longer competitive with other venues across MLS.”

... oh.

If you’re waiting for some other shoe to drop, for MLS to reveal that this is all Part of the Plan {™} the Make American Soccer Great Again and not just another round of public-financing extortion from a league built on it, the best you’re gonna get is the claim that this is horticulture, not degradation. Precourt’s assertions lacked Zuul’s drawling composure, but it’s hard not to acknowledge the chutzpah of a man who pauses mid-shit to claim that these leaves? Definitely spindling.

“Despite our investments and efforts, the current course is not sustainable,” Precourt said in the statement. “This club has ambition to be a standard bearer in MLS, therefore we have no choice but to expand and explore all of our options.”

So here we are, MLS supporters. It’s the end of 2017 and the league is what it is. Is this what we signed up for? Constant, grinding insecurity that can only be salved by constant applications of tax money? The league’s investor/owners all standing outside the windows of our support, tapping on the glass - “Nice thing you’ve built here. Be a shame if something … y’know … happened to it.”

This is where we are, folks. It’s right out there in the open. If Columbus can go - if the league can just lop off its most-distinctive founding member and cut it out of its history, all to further enrich a douchebag whose word is now shown to be worth almost literally nothing - then who is safe? How many bags of gold have SUM hauled out of Columbus on the backs of Dos a Cero and this rickety Midwestern fortress? And it avails nothing at all.

At this point, it’s hard to see a way back for MLS from this astonishing heel turn. The league’s callousness toward the supporters in Columbus has to put all the other ways the league has said “just trust us” in doubt. A decade of steady growth and increasingly good news is starting to look more like a public relations coup than the real thing. What is real, Donnie G? Which you do we believe?

Here’s something real: USA’s World Cup flameout have shined a bright light on the league’s failures in player development. There’s no simple fix there - those problems owe everything to insufficiently wide distribution of coaching and training resources, a failure which is likely to be exacerbated as MLS owners react to a loss of expected World Cup income from SUM. A vast, wealthy country of 370 million people needs something like 40,000 clubs to adequately cover the talent base; MLS look at that number and say, “Ehh, we can probably do it with 100.”

We don’t need to get into the various fixes and institutional bulwarks Sunil Gulati and his co-conspirators have built for MLS in US Soccer right now, but it’s worth remembering everything that’s out there - the suppression and subordination of lower-league football, the sekrit-in-plain-sight that is Soccer United Marketing, the work inside FIFA to keep MLS’ almost-unique status in world football unchanged. All to insure that MLS gets to do what MLS wants to do, which is make a dollar and a cent on this game here. In this case, Sunil’s deft political work protects the rights of a lying, grifting shitbag over the rights of literally thousands of passionate supporters.

But are you really surprised? Didn’t you know this is what MLS is? Well, now you do. There’s so many other problems in the world. Why be part of one? MLS doesn’t give a fuck about you. Maybe it’s time you repaid the favor.

At least we can thank Anthony Precourt for letting us know.