Hear that storm on the horizon? That's right, something's afoot--and it's possibly an MLS work stoppage. The MLS Players Union Twitter page is all a-flutter with a more galvanized push for free agency. And soon. The CBA talks have stalled and the players are talking strike. Apparently, they look at other leagues around the world with their unrestricted free agency, and believe this is the path to go.
And the players believe this is the time to consider a work stoppage.
.@ToddDunivant: "Free agency has to be in this deal for the players to play on opening day." #Unity2015 http://t.co/IgooClPKRV— MLS Players Union (@MLSPlayersUnion) January 24, 2015
Taylor Twellman chimes in:
After being a part of the #CBA talks last time, I get a real sense this group of players is ready/confident enough to strike 4 FreeAgency.— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) January 22, 2015
Al Saborio of Real Salt Lake:
No one wants a strike, but if that has to happen, we will do it. This is a simple matter of fairness.— Álvaro Saborío (@al_saborio) January 22, 2015
For the fan, this would be a shame. The popularity of the sport is growing, more quality players on the world stage are coming, and (the biggest reason for me) the new TV deal--this could prove a difficult time for a league, where one wonders if they could recover.
Granted, it's the opinion of this writer, Rapids fan, and MLS proponent is that the league should take care of the players better. But Brian Straus of SI.com brings out the rather obvious issue between the owners/MLS and the players:
MLS has no intention of following that path [of] unrestricted free agency common throughout the world, nor in the more limited versions used by other sports' leagues in North America. MLS officials firmly believe the measured growth and careful, centralized control that have carried it this far remain the keys to a prosperous
future. As a result, the league and its players are at an impasse.
During the last issue that arose five years ago, the compromise was a re-entry draft, but even with this, the players could not choose which team they wished to play for. MLS believes that their mode of operation has succeeded well in bringing the league to this point. The Players' Union believes that they have played a significant role in this and should have more say-so in their situation with free agency and a minimum salary.
So what say you? Do you sympathize with the players, or do you understand the stance of MLS/owners? Will free agency hurt us on a world stage? If free agency is not the answer, then in what ways should the players' situation improve?
Leave us a comment or send me a tweet at @rapidssouthstds.