An Open Letter to Ben Massey

86 Forever responds to our Editor Emeritus' decision to no longer support the MLS Whitecaps

Dear Ben,

I read your article on Maple-Leaf-Forever.com last night and although I'm sorry to see you leaving "the scene" I can totally understand where you're coming from.  I found myself in a very similar situation with the Vancouver Canucks and the NHL last season because (at least in my über-simplistic point of view anyways) I was sick and tired of billionaires fighting with millionaires on how they were going to divide up the spoils amongst themselves every time the CBA expired.

While my issue was with what I perceived to be a scrap between greedy owners and players, your main issue is with how MLS is running the league itself and specifically how they handle the transfer of "marquee" players.  I have no problem with that because I totally agree with holding people accountable, but MLS is currently experiencing unprecedented growth and exposure.  Honestly, when it comes to the Clint Dempsey deal and now the Urruti/Dike trade I suspect MLS did not have the mechanisms in place to handle the trades properly.  That does not excuse MLS, but I do think that the league is evolving at such an accelerated pace at the moment they find themselves having to deal with issues that they did not anticipate happening so soon (if at all).

Let's face it; the Dempsey deal came out of left field and no one expected it.  If someone said last summer that the US Men's National Team captain, who is in his prime, wanted to leave Europe and play in MLS, we all would have had a good chuckle and questioned that person's sanity.  What I would like to see is more transparency from MLS so people know what the heck is going on.  I hate when a new player is signed it's always the generic statement from MLS and the club in question that "as per league policy terms of the deal were not released".  I know the player's union releases salaries, etc., but all this murkiness takes away my enjoyment of the off-the-pitch side of things to a certain degree.  Here at 86 Forever we have been discussing the Whitecaps' shortcomings on and off the pitch all season, but if we can't really figure out where the club sits in relation to the salary cap and the duration of contracts, then any conclusions we draw are just "educated" guesses at best.  I know that these rules aren't set up to confound us on purpose, but as a league that is still in its infancy (to a certain degree) it really hurt its legitimacy if Don Garber just came out and said "okay guys we didn't expect this to happen and we really don't know how to handle it so we kinda just punched it up on the fly.  You guys cool with that?"  That would not make them look very professional and would be detrimental to their long-term goal of becoming one of the world's top professional soccer leagues.

As someone who writes for a blog that "competes" with you, one might think that I would be pleased that you've had enough of MLS and the MLS Whitecaps, but that's not the case.  Ben, let's face it; sometimes you're offensive, often you're rude and you'll always be a Fat Bastard.  I may not always agree with your opinions, but you know what you're talking about, and you're not afraid to express your opinions and demand accountability.  It's for those reasons that your choice not to support the MLS Whitecaps (and I would assume the cessation of your blogging about them as well) is a loss to those of us who enjoy writing and reading about our beloved Whitecaps.  So in closing I ask you to reconsider your decision because I am disappointed at the prospect that I might soon see on your Twitter bio that you're "not an MLS Whitecaps fan for [expletive]'s sake."

Sincerely,

Mark Dailey

86 Forever

~

@86forever – for the latest Whitecaps FC news and updates brought to you from the Heart of Cascadia!

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