MLS Commissioner Has Some Dumb Shit To Say About Jürgen Klinsmann
By Billy Haisley, Screamer.Deadspin.com
"Sunil is one my closest friends," said Garber, who also sits on the board of the US Soccer Federation and has since he became MLS Commissioner in 1999. "The partnership we have with him has led to the league that we have today. I'm confident that he will understand and accept the severity of what is happening here, and insure that [Klinsmann] is in line with the vision that he has publicly stated."
Garber added: "[Klinsmann] has done a great job with the national team, but he needs to think very, very hard about how he manages himself publicly, and how he should motivate players that are playing in our league."
You're reading that right: that is a league commissioner demanding that the national team manager help out with his marketing agenda, or else.
By addressing the promotion and relegation issue, Klinsmann is, by proxy, directly attacking the structural problems with MLS, and refusing to conflate the league's interests with those of American soccer. That's what's dangerous to Garber. The more Klinsmann—the real face of the sport in this country—speaks to American soccer fans about the problems with their shambolic league, the less likely those fans are to accept MLS's paternalistic dismissal of the sport's core values. That would be a good development for soccer fans. It would not be a good development for Don Garber.
What it comes down to is this: Garber is running a safe, profitable racket whose success rests on a structural acceptance of mediocrity, while Klinsmann is saying that fans deserve better, and that America can be excellent.