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Coffee with the Caps, Monday June 1

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MLS: D.C. United at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Good Monday morning Caps fans and welcome to June. After March, which crawled by, April and May passed with the blink of an eye and we are officially in summer. It also means we are just weeks away from the return of sports in the U.S.

But we still don’t officially know when MLS will be returning and it is possible that talks between the players and owners will devolve from the volley of deals back-and-forth that we’ve seen thus far into the rather vicious dealmaking that is currently going on in Major League Baseball.

The long and short of it is this: the league and MLSPA have been entrenched in negotiations largely centered on what, if any, salary cuts the players will take and the architecture of the Orlando tournament.

The league wants players to take a 8.75 percent pay cut. But the big sticking point of the deal is a force majeure clause that basically would let the CBA dissolve if attendance (and thus revenues) takes a nosedive once play actually resumes in its more normal form.

There also is tension surrounding a key part of the new CBA negotiated earlier this year, which would allow for greater revenue sharing of what everyone hopes will be a TV rights windfall in the coming years. The league wants to pause some of that.

The players actually did agree to a 7.5 percent pay cut in the latest counter-offer approved by the union last night. Moreover, they largely agreed to play in Orlando, as well as what health precautions will be used. For example, players with medical or family reasons will be able to opt-out of the tournament so as to avoid potential COVID-19 exposure.

The big kahuna was the force majeure clause, which the owners are pretty desperate to include for fairly obvious reasons. We don’t know how long this will go on and the league wants to avoid a situation where the old CBA is a stageweight around it’s ankles. Subsequent reporting suggests the players are on board with this.

That would help ensure a deal gets done. The league did, however, reject the MLSPA’s latest counteroffer and gave players until Tuesday to get a deal done, otherwise they will lock them out.

A lockout is basically the Armageddon-type scenario that no one wants, especially during and a pandemic and especially because who knows what kind of effect it would have going forward on generally positive relations between MLS/MLSPA.

The players seem to have caved on almost all points. The league needs to meet them where they’re at, get a deal done and get us all back to soccer. The squabbling like we’re seeing in MLB right now makes everyone in bad look foolish and, ultimately, would serve to disadvantage a league by MLS that has a lot to lose by not restarting alongside some of its counterparts such as the NBA and NHL, which both have launched re-opening plans.

It doesn’t seem like the worst-case scenario will be realized. At least I hope not. But in the meantime, something to keep your eye on today and tomorrow.

We would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the weekend of protesting in cities throughout the U.S. against police brutality and the death of Minneapolis native George Floyd at the hands of that city’s police.

It should be noted that players in the Bundesliga and beyond made reference to, and joined that struggle against systemic racism. I hope more of their white teammates join them and that players in MLS and around the world join them.

Let’s link it up

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