I remember my excitement three years ago when MLS announced it would be starting “Don’t Cross the Line,” aimed at racism, sexism, and homophobia in soccer. For another year now, words such as that are absent from the campaigns annual public service announcement.
Come on now, MLS, how are people supposed to not cross the proverbial line when you don’t tell them what that line is?
Things in America may not be as bad as elsewhere in the world, but the core issues that were front and center in Don’t Cross the Line still need to be addressed, not watered down to a bunch of feel-good sentiments set to a catchy tune.
Here are Landon Donovan’s words in the first ad in 2012: “No bullying, no racism, no sexism, no homophobia. No excuses, no exceptions.” Where is the language like that now? Did you get rid of it because the Revolution and Dynamo got tired of people pointing out that MLS had an anti-sexism messages while they trotted out cheerleaders in skin-tight outfits?
2013 was a bit less explicit but still had Dwayne De Rosario stating, “We draw the line at discrimination or harassment of any kind, on and off the field.” The watering down continued in 2014 with the strongest statement being Kyle Beckerman’s “We don’t discriminate against anyone, ever.” 2015? A string of happy slappy buzz words.
MLS, you do have homophobia issues. In most matches I’m watching every weekend, fans are chanting a word deemed inappropriate by US Soccer President Sunil Gulati and even the Mexican government says normalizes homophobic rage. And yet you’re afraid to use the word “homophobia” in an ad.
(And as an aside, when’s the last time the league or a club did anything visible as part of their partnership with the You Can Play Project?)
Why not stand up and be a leader against racism by calling it out explicitly? Take the charge ahead of other leagues in a confederation where you send your players to be berated by monkey sounds.
And yes, make your teams take a look at their use of women in club promotions.
Please Major League Soccer, make me excited by your Don’t Cross the Line campaign again, and of the real work you can do to address soccer’s social issues. We can be the leaders. We can be the best.
Most Major League Soccer teams revealed kits as part of MLS Jersey Week 2015. So now that we’ve seen all of the unveilings and most kits on the field, it’s time for some reviews. Overall, this year was definitely a departure from the overall yawn-inducing offerings of last year, so while there are still misses here and there at least this year there was more of an attempt to be different and interesting.
NYCFC made up for a plain all-Manchester City blue jersey with something that has been sorely missing in MLS: a slick, black away kit. As usual the symbolism is a bit overdone in the design. Why do the diagonal stripes have to represent something? They just look good. And the blue and orange trim add a great deal to the look with just a little even though orange says “Mets” to me more than it does “Yankees.” Read more…
Norma Rae. The Molly Maguires. Last Exit to Springfield. There are a few examples of labor relations at the center of popular culture. But here at G4S, we’re going to look at the MLS labor talks through the lens of Razzie-winning movie turned Tony-winning musical Newsies.
Now if you’re not familiar with Newsies, first…whaaaAAAaaa? Second, Newsies is based on the true story of the 1899 New York Newsboys Strike when thousands of youth protested price hikes from newspapers run by Joseph Pulitzer and William Randoph Hearst. The strike shut down the Brooklyn Bridge halting traffic and preventing newspaper distribution to New England. It didn’t result in a lowering of prices, but the papers agreed to buy back unsold copies.
If you thought an openly gay athlete could have no more surprises, pick up a copy of Robbie Rogers’ memoir Coming Out to Play this week and prepare to be surprised.
Starting early on in the opening chapters, Rogers tells a very personal story. This is not just the “athlete in the closet” story that one might expect, but it’s also a portrait of his family and their ups and downs throughout his young life. It’s also the story of a rising soccer star beyond the issues of his sexuality and the decisions that a player viewed as a young phenomenon must make. When it comes to this time in his life I would have been interested in hearing more about his time at the University of Maryland and playing with other current MLS stars like Maurice Edu and Graham Zusi.
Ultimately this is a story of a man who spent his life masking his sexuality and the process he took to reveal his whole self to the world. There are many stories about Rogers self-censoring his language, monitoring his behavior with friends and family, and doing with women what his peers expected him to be doing with women. “Heartbreaking” doesn’t begin to describe some of these moments, and anyone who has been in the closet will be able to identify with much of what Rogers went through.
Robbie Rogers was once again named to the Major League Soccer Team of the Week after a great performance against Dallas, stoking the fire that he deserves a callup to the US Men’s National Team.
Team Captain Robbie Keane gave a glowing assessment of Rogers’ move to a defensive position to LAGalaxy.com following the team’s weekend victory over FC Dallas:
He’s a player who’s grown in stature in that position. I think you’re looking at probably the best left back in the league. Certainly no question about that.
If (U.S. national team coach Jurgen) Klinsmann is watching the games no question he should be looked at. He’s been brilliant. That’s how much he’s come on.
Schedule-wise it’s difficult seeing when Rogers would join the National Team again, with the next pair of stateside matches coming so close to the MLS playoffs. Bruce Arena will be reticent to let too many of his players leave LA when there very well could be a Supporters Shield and prime playoff position on the line.
Rogers hasn’t had a National Team cap since 2011. It was a year that included him being a part of Klinsmann’s first roster and scoring a goal against Mexico in that friendly match. His international resume also includes an appearance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
All things considered maybe that headline should read, “Robbie Rogers, National Team Ready.”
We’re in the thick of the MLS All Star Game Week here in Portland, and the league, team, and city continue to put on quite the show for the fans.
The atmosphere has not gone unnoticed, with players both at the pregame press conference and at training at Providence Park lauding Portland’s soccer-friendly culture and the passion of its fans. Even when the result is a rain of boos when they come as a member of an opposing team.
It’s also a bit of a reunion for some of the players, with so many of Major League Soccer’s US Men’s National Team players represented here so soon after their stint together at the World Cup in Brazil. That added chemistry could be a factor Wednesday night that gives this All Star Game a different look than those in years past.
It should be another great All Star Game along with the rest of the week’s festivities.
Editor’s note: When the LA Galaxy played the Carolina Railhawks in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup in June, Robbie Rogers was not the only gay soccer player in the stadium. Former college player Stephen Bickford was on hand to watch, and had some reflections on watching Rogers play.
A year has passed and we’re back to where we started. The Railhawks hosted the Los Angeles Galaxy in the US Open cup for the third consecutive year, and I come to you with another article about the Galaxy’s openly gay player, Robbie Rogers. This year, the result was the same in two ways. The Railhawks won, and Rogers gave a good account of himself.
However, there’s far more depth to this year’s Robbie Rogers than the Rogers who was playing in his first road game for his new club last season. Robbie Rogers has shown a lot to fans, pundits, his teammates, and his coach this past year. He was able to come out from under the weight of being “America’s first openly gay athlete in a major professional sport.” And he has handle the pressure and celebrity that have come from it with incredible courage, strength, humility and grace.
- Only one goal was scored in the Washington Spirit’s victory over the Chicago Red Stars midweek. Lori Lindsey played most of the match, and her pressure helped ensure the shutout.
- Also in midweek action, two first-half goals led to the Boston Breakers being shut out by FC Kansas City. Lianne Sanderson captained the team for a full 90 minutes.
- The shutouts in NWSL continued over the weekend with a 5-0 walloping of the Portland Thorns at the hands of the Western New York Flash. Meleana Shim was a first half sub.
- Finally it was a 1-1 draw for the LA Galaxy against Chivas USA. After an outstanding performance on the road in Chicago, Robbie Rogers earned a spot in the starting lineup and played for the full 90 minutes in his new home at right back.
For the second year the New England Revolution supporters groups Midnight Riders and Rebellion will be marking Boston Pride at Gillette Stadium.
Things get started Sunday night before the Revs’ match against the New York Red Bulls where the groups will be selling Pride gear before the match with proceeds going to the New England advocacy group Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders.
The festivities continue on Saturday the 14th as the supporters groups march in the Boston Pride Parade for the first time ever. The Midnight Riders and Rebellion will be joined by members of the New England Revolution staff for the march past some of Boston’s major landmarks. It will be the first time a pro sports franchise participates in the event, one of the oldest and biggest in the nation.
“The Midnight Riders have been looking forward to this year’s Pride events since our first successful celebration last May,” said Midnight Riders president Fran Harrington. “We believe that soccer is for everybody, and we’re excited to demonstrate that with our involvement in Pride Night at the Revolution game and at the Parade in Boston the following weekend.”
- LA Galaxy defender Dan Gargan felt ill late in the first half of their match against the Chicago Fire, and Robbie Rogers was called in as a substitute. His wicked cross to Landon Donovan resulted in a game-tying goal and the assist and other great moves earned him “Hero of the Game” honors.
- The Boston Breakers gave Joanna Lohman and Lianne Sanderson, well, breaks this past weekend with Lohman not playing and Sanderson serving as a sub in their 4-1 win over the Portland Thorns. Both Meleana Shim and Sarah Huffman were Thorns substitutes.
- Abby Wambach suffered a knee injury in the Western New York Flash’s 2-1 loss to the Houston Dash. She is expected to recover quickly and is a part of Jill Ellis’ roster for the USWNT’s upcoming friendlies against France.
- The midweek rest must have done the trick for Lianne Sanderson as she scored a brace against the Washington Spirit over the weekend. She was the sole Boston Breakers scorer, though, and the team lost 3-2 to the Spirit in a match that also included play from Joanna Lohman and Lori Lindsey.