Rio Tinto Stadium, home of RSL
In the last few years, this site has distanced itself from the United States; basically, we cover NASL and MLS and the other leagues we share with Americans — when the stories relate to a Canadian audience.
But, today, I’m breaking that rule. Because I’m gonna wade into the world of ethics, sports journalism and where we are today.
As you may have heard, MLS side Real Salt Lake made the decision this past weekend to strip Salt Lake Tribune columnist Gordon Monson of his credentials. Monson has been critical of the team’s ownership in past columns (an example can be found HERE). The paper responded by not sending staff to cover this past weekend’s RSL match, choosing to write a reduced game report straight off a television broadcast.
In a statement, Andy Carroll, RSL’s chief business officer, said that the club felt that Monson could write his columns without having to go to the stadium because “he clearly needs no semblance of reportage or journalistic integrity upon which to arrive and share his view.” Carroll then went on to state that it represented a conflict of interest for Monson to cover RSL because he did radio work with a relative of the team’s former owner and, this is key here, because he gets paid by what Carroll called a “competing professional team in the marketplace,” the NBA’s Utah Jazz.
Now, wait a second here. It is a conflict for someone to cover an MLS team but also be involved in the NBA? If that’s the case — and if MLS approves this message — by that logic, should it not also be a conflict for an MLS owner to also have a stake or fully own an NBA team? Since Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment owns the Raptors, TFC, the Maple Leafs and the Marlies, don’t they in some way aid and abet the competitors in RSL’s coveted marketplace? Following Carroll’s logic, should MLSE be allowed to own an NBA team and an MLS team?
What about the Vancouver Whitecaps and the expansion LAFC? Don’t they both have owners who earned their money thanks to lucrative NBA careers?
As well, I think it needs to be stated that the reason MLS exists is because, in the 1990s, a lot of owners who made their money in the NFL — another competing league — decided to invest their money in soccer.
Read the rest of this entry »