The MLS And Its Stupidity

The MLS And Its Stupidity

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On January 23, 2008
  • 6 Comments

Sometimes I cannot help myself when I read something or hear it through a source; I just have to talk about it and share my feelings on the subject. Yesterday evening when I was doing my nightly MLS reading for the day I came across an article on the Sideline Views blog about how bad the MLS can be at times.

Andrea Canales, an LA-based reported who is a great soccer writer and fan blows off some steam about the problems she has with the league and how they handle player trades/transfers and those kinds of situations.

The frustrating part for Canales, like most sports reporters is that sometimes players and leagues can be tough to get information from. Usually the players are the easiest to get bites and information from but sometimes the league puts a clamp on what they say from what I gather from her post.

When talking to Brad Guzan about a possible move to Celtic she got:

Brad was a brick wall, rejecting our questions with as much ferocity as he defends his net.
Even the simplest queries were smothered.
“Are you talking to Celtic?”
“I can’t say.”
Well, that gives us a whole lot of nothing to write about. Which, incidently, affects exposure and publicity for Brad, his MLS team, and the entire league. Nice going.

I totally get the problem here. When I was reporting in college you’d get the same from coaches and players who didn’t want to say the wrong thing or give too much. And I am sure there are the same types of cases here in the professional side of the game.

But for a professional league to be that way to the people reporting it’s game is terrible to hear really. And from what I am being told by a lot of people, including sources is that the MLS has not provided proper access to information unlike other leagues across the globe.

They seem to wish to manage the news more than help reporters break it and deliver it to the public. Which really makes no sense for the large part since its the reporters who are going to get their information out to the public quicker and easier than they would.

Without the writers and even to a degree people like myself, the blogger, the league would have no one caring enough about it. Sometimes you have to open up a little bit to get your product out to the masses and right now maybe that is the biggest problem concerning the league; its unwillingness to provide good enough access for the writers and more importantly the fans.

Look at the league’s website for starters, there is a great idication of how terrible they are in getting news across to people. During last week’s draft, it was taking the site hours to even get the right picks up on the board, much less help people who couldn’t watch it online or at home on ESPN who got picked where. People like me and Ives had our draft commentaries going better than they had their draft tracker.

Sad really, when a blogger like myself can put out information during a big even like a draft quicker than the league can through its own site.

They need to take a page from other leagues, hire PR and media relation staffs that get the news out there better and work easier and more effectively with the journalists. Because in the end with the way things are going, it is only hurting the fans of the game more with how they are treating matters like this. Not to mention what it does to the people who could be fans all together.

Time for the league to grow up a little bit here if you ask me. I know they are still young but they should be better with the media than how they currently are right now. Maybe you don’t agree with me on that but that is fine. I totally know where Canales is coming from on this and people like her deserve better.

  • Brian

    There seems to be this notion that the media staffs in other sports just open their doors and tell reporters whatever they want. There are no secrets!<br />
    <br />
    Nothing could be further from the truth. Look at the situation with Tom Brady's ankle. The difference between MLS and the other sports is that thanks to their long existence and their larger organizations, reporters have more ways to get news. And there are more reporters covering stories to track down information. And the people running the news organizations are more aggressive on these things.<br />
    <br />
    Does MLS stonewall? Sure. But so do other leagues and organizations. This is not a new tactic in professional sports. Andrea has some legitimate beefs, but does she have mre sources than Guzan? Does she know his family? Does she have a good relationship with his agents? How about talking to other players who know him?<br />
    <br />
    That's how Steve and Ives get the news, not by being league plants as they are accused of. They work the story. They know it's not easy, but they do it.<br />
    <br />
    MLS has room to grow, but it's typical soccer fan overreaction to act like this is the one and only place where the media people try to control information.

  • drew.epperley

    I'm not saying other leagues are more open Brian, believe me I know they aren't. But for a league to be so young and need so much attention that it doesn't get to actually stonewall it's reporters is not the way to go. <br />
    <br />
    Andrea was saying that it is tough to build a relationship with a player when they are being traded every year and they don't know it. I know it is like that in other sports but soccer players here in the US aren't like baseball players or football players here. They just don't talk and give the media the same type of information. Mainly due to the fact that the media is barely covering them still. <br />
    <br />
    Its a slight overreaction but sometimes that is what gets people's attention.

  • There seems to be this notion that the media staffs in other sports just open their doors and tell reporters whatever they want. There are no secrets!

    Nothing could be further from the truth. Look at the situation with Tom Brady’s ankle. The difference between MLS and the other sports is that thanks to their long existence and their larger organizations, reporters have more ways to get news. And there are more reporters covering stories to track down information. And the people running the news organizations are more aggressive on these things.

    Does MLS stonewall? Sure. But so do other leagues and organizations. This is not a new tactic in professional sports. Andrea has some legitimate beefs, but does she have mre sources than Guzan? Does she know his family? Does she have a good relationship with his agents? How about talking to other players who know him?

    That’s how Steve and Ives get the news, not by being league plants as they are accused of. They work the story. They know it’s not easy, but they do it.

    MLS has room to grow, but it’s typical soccer fan overreaction to act like this is the one and only place where the media people try to control information.

  • I’m not saying other leagues are more open Brian, believe me I know they aren’t. But for a league to be so young and need so much attention that it doesn’t get to actually stonewall it’s reporters is not the way to go.

    Andrea was saying that it is tough to build a relationship with a player when they are being traded every year and they don’t know it. I know it is like that in other sports but soccer players here in the US aren’t like baseball players or football players here. They just don’t talk and give the media the same type of information. Mainly due to the fact that the media is barely covering them still.

    Its a slight overreaction but sometimes that is what gets people’s attention.

  • rebecca

    Agree that the league, teams and players could do a better job of working with the media and sharing info. with the public. I work at a PR firm with corporate clients and even in really tough situations, you can share information with the reporters and websites you trust – or at least be honest about when information will be available and manage those expectations – but you've got to build that trust over time, with each reporter. I look at the comparatively low number of reporters who regularly cover MLS as an opportunity for the league to get to know each of them and develop those relationships. I'm a big DC United fan and the recent back and forth about our stadium situation is a great example of spotty media relations – very little info. coming out of the organization and government offices &ndash; which is maddening considering that in recent times, we're the winning-most team in the nation's capital with the smallest budget and borrowed facilities (sorry – that was a bit off topic).

  • rebecca

    Agree that the league, teams and players could do a better job of working with the media and sharing info. with the public. I work at a PR firm with corporate clients and even in really tough situations, you can share information with the reporters and websites you trust – or at least be honest about when information will be available and manage those expectations – but you’ve got to build that trust over time, with each reporter. I look at the comparatively low number of reporters who regularly cover MLS as an opportunity for the league to get to know each of them and develop those relationships. I’m a big DC United fan and the recent back and forth about our stadium situation is a great example of spotty media relations – very little info. coming out of the organization and government offices which is maddening considering that in recent times, we’re the winning-most team in the nation’s capital with the smallest budget and borrowed facilities (sorry – that was a bit off topic).