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Vancouver Whitecaps Coverage No Longer About Soccer...and That is a Problem

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MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Marc Dos Santos Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Whitecaps have had a rough start to the season on and off the field. While they were able to get their first win last week, against Major League Soccer’s top team, and previously undefeated, Los Angeles Football Club, the club still sits 10th in the West with just five points, five points out of the seventh and final playoff berth. However, their on-field struggles are nothing compared to what they have faced off-field.

The off-field problems of the Whitecaps are, sadly, nothing new. It seems that each season we are faced with several incidents that require police involvement. In the previous few seasons this has included a player being charged with ‘domestic incidents’, another being investigated for rape and involvement in the death of an underage girl, a WFC 2 player being charged with sexual assault, while even youth residency players are being charged with sexual assault of fellow players. And, I am sure I am missing some.

This season has sadly begun like so many previous ones with allegations against coaches for wrongful actions. First there was allegations against former women’s coach from twelve players (to date) that went unchecked by the Whitecaps and Canadian Soccer Association, and now it has been noted that Kootenay Academy regional head coach Brett Adams was removed from his position at Notts County in England because of PROVEN, continuous, racial remarks towards players; which resulted in a suspension and fine from English Football Association. While CWilkins notes this is not ‘new’ news, and that “When you Google ‘Brett Adams Notts County’”, the first searches are related to this incident, it points to a track record of poor morals from the club, especially when it comes to sexual violence.

What might be worst for most fans is the lack of, apparently, care by the Whitecaps about these incidents. As CWilkins noted, their recent statement regarding the women’s coach probably made things worse, while their decision to stand behind Adams, and more importantly, citing his exemplary record points to how little honor the club’s brass truly has.

In the case of Adams, while it is true that people can make mistakes and those mistakes should not haunt someone for the rest of their life, there is a difference between dismissing something as not important and acknowledging it but moving forward by saying something like “Adams made some mistakes and owned up to it and has made steps to change his behaviour, realizing those types of comments, whether said in jest or not, are unacceptable from a coach. During his time with the Whitecaps he has been exemplary and has shown that he has worked on his behaviour”. Personally, if the statement said something like that, I would be fine with it. I believe in giving people a second chance. But when your response is so dismissive it is disgusting.

Whitecaps fans, especially supporters groups, have been faced with a predicament. They love the players and want to support the team but can’t support the ineptitude of the administrative regime. During the LAFC match last Wednesday, the supporters groups staged a walk-out during the match. This, along with the recent allegations have received WORLDWIDE coverage.

Upping the ante even further, long time season ticket holders have begun to cancel their tickets because of the lack of action from the club. Also, I encourage you to read over the comments of almost any tweet from the Whitecaps to see the pressure that is being placed on them by fans.

While this should not be held as more or less important than any of the other measures taken by fans thus far, long-time member of the ‘Optimist Union’ of the Whitecaps, - who saw the good/positive no matter what – has come out against his club. As we noted on Twitter, it says a lot when THAT person, the poster-child for support, has become sick and tired of this club.

So, what is the answer for fans? How do you balance the desire to support the players and not hold them responsible for the actions of others, while still making sure that you express your disdain for this organization? Chris has some recommendations in his Twitter post, which I encourage you to read. Another option, if you are more of a casual fan, is to turn your attention to the wonderful Canadian Premiere League, which opens play this weekend. Pacific FC will play their first match on Sunday and will a LOT of familiar faces. Matthew Baldisimo, Kadin Chung, Noah Verhoeven, Victor Blasco, Ben Fisk, Terran Campbell, Marcus Haber to name just a few.

What are your plans going forward? What are your thoughts on this organization? Are you somewhat embarrassed to call yourself a supporter of this organization? Personally, I am disgusted that I ‘have to’ cover this club given their recent actions. Let us know your thoughts.