Shalrie Pissed, Oxygen Leaves Room

Just as I was getting warmed up to my day, a post by my colleague on The Offside tells me that midfielder Shalrie Joseph finally reached his limit with the coal-to-diamonds tightness of the New England Revolution front office purse strings and his asked to be traded.

As noted in the comments there, the only upside to this situation comes with the fact that I've not yet produced my season preview for the Revs. A grumpy Joseph, never mind an absent one, will severely downgrade their chances of success this season. And, here's a personal note to the Revolution organization: get bent. I'm really missing the virtue of running a roster below the salary cap for year after year; you're pissing off your players, some of them the best in the league. I'm an underemployed middle-aged man who runs a blog as a kind of methadone for writing - and it seems I've got more ambition in one typing finger than you've got across your organization. Kind of sad, really.

Naturally, there's a full-blooded and growing freakout underway on the Revolution message boards on BigSoccer. Most of them match the sentiment of the above, and all are unanimous in demanding that the responsible party in the Revolution front office just pay the man what he deserves (league maximum), but there's one looking to what happens next. That post builds on something Steve Goff posted on The Soccer Insider, which came out of a conversation with Ron Waxman, who is Shalrie Joseph's agent. The key sentence there:

"Waxman says Joseph would be willing to play for any of the other 12 clubs in MLS."

And that's where the other post, by someone who goes by "JoeW," comes in: he looks at which teams might have the needs and available cash to pick up Joseph. I can't vouch for his list (though it reads sound enough), but there's one team he mentions who should be sending all kinds of mating displays in the direction of Joseph and his agent: FC Dallas. They definitely view Joseph's position as a personnel need as evidenced by their pursuit of Edgar Davids and Joseph will come with a much smaller price tag. If I'm Dallas, I top any offer New England kicks up up to the salary cap; and I'd bid 'em stupid on bonuses. Basically, show the guy you give a shit about his material well-being and I'm guessing he jumps.

Turning from Joseph to the big picture - both for the Revolution as a team and the league as a whol - there's one quote from Joseph that underlines everything about the Revs' business operations that keeps appearing in articles (like this one) and posts on this subject:

"There is a lot of disenchantment on the team; I don’t want to speak for all the guys, but I know I have been unhappy about my contract situation and others have been worried about theirs."

Another poster a little ways down the thread (here; he goes by RevsFanDan) brings up the designated-player rule and that's worth exploring because it gets at a very large potential problem: how will players who were bonafide stars in the league prior to the rule's establishment take it when a foreign player comes in making all kinds of bucks while they continue to toil below, sometimes well below, the league's maximum?

Someone mentions a strike. It's a scary thought, and I don't know what the players have for leverage at this point given soccer's precarious state in the U.S. sporting landscape, but I wouldn't put outside the realm of possibility either.


Anonymous said...

I thought FCD would be a good fit also ... in the West and badly needing bodies while the rest are recovering from injuries.

Haven't thought of a strike in response to the DP rule. Kind of scary and I can see it happening. It's a short-sided position though because the league could use the exposure and interest the rule could generate -- and that only helps bring up the others --> larger TV contracts, sponsorships, butts-in-seats (read: legitimacy).

The Manly Ferry said...

The DP rule is so tricky. The one thing I know for sure about it is that I'm glad they're going to review it in a couple of years.

Part of me would be shocked to see a strike; I mean, we all know how precarious our sport's place in the American scene is. At the same time, I'd be stewing quite a bit if I was one of the "have-nots" or, as the league likes to name 'em, developmental players.