Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber came out yesterday and told the Washington Post’s Steven Goff that if DC United and the proper authorities can’t get a stadium deal resolved, the team could move.
I see what Garber is trying to do. Threaten a move, play a little hardball, and the politicians in Montgomery County, or the District, or Fairfax County, any place close to DC, will drop everything and scurry around looking for a place in their jurisdiction to host United’s new home.
I wish it were that easy. Don Garber, while the league has grown under his leadership, isn’t Pete Rozelle or David Stern. His words aren’t going to resonate with folks in the upper reaches around here. I think his statement – while possibly being completely accurate and what he believes to be the case – is probably going to do more to freak out fans than it will to actually help the stadium process.
What I would have liked to hear from Garber was … something about like this:
Instead, Garber put the key in the ignition and lifted the door, paving the way for the league to push the red button and blow the whole thing up, while Joshua tries to find the launch codes. I don’t believe this was the smartest idea – for many reasons, especially because to be brutally honest, I don’t think United would move. Whatever the league would gain in terms of support in a new city wouldn’t be enough of a wound dressing to overcome the act of wiping the most decorated club off the map from the city where it’s been since the league’s inception.
For more on this issue, check out my discussion with Kenn Tomasch and Dan Loney on the “Four at the Back” podcast, available here.