HOUSTON - JULY 28: Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber looks on during the MLS All Star Game at Reliant Stadium on July 28 2010 in Houston Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
I'm sitting at home tonight watching the CONCACAF Champions League. Why? Because despite the fact Major League Soccer can be an incredibly frustrating league, despite the fact it can drive me bat-s*** crazy, I want to see our league's teams be successful in the CCL.
Trouble is, no matter how hard the players work, not matter how well the coaches do their job, they are all being handicapped by CONCACAF officials who are at best incompetent and at worst, completely and utterly corrupt.
I've watched match after match in this year's tournament and we are seeing MLS teams playing extremely hard and doing everything they can to represent MLS and themselves. Even though I'm not a fan of any MLS team playing in the CCL, I'm proud as a fan of the league at the effort being put forth by Toronto FC, Columbus, Seattle and Real Salt Lake. However, as we see horrible call after horrible call by officials, it's become increasingly difficult to take anything about this farcical event seriously.
I can accept that CONCACAF is a corrupt and despicable organization, run by a man named Jack Warner who is little more than a thug and a thief, but I cannot accept the deafening silence coming from MLS and Don Garber as the teams they are paid to support and represent are left in the dark. Instead of defending their league against the clear injustices occurring, MLS and Garber are choosing to pretend nothing is wrong, that everything is just peachy.
Do you think your fans are stupid? Do you think we don't notice what is going on? I sure hope not because MLS is not the NFL and it needs every fan it can get. Upsetting us by appearing to ignore the ridiculous decisions being made against your teams is not good policy. Regurgitating CONCACAF's empty and contrived excuses for the behavior of their officials on your website is no way to do business, but sadly I'm not surprised. This is clearly the best we can expect from Major League Soccer.
How much longer must these CCL matches continue to be marred by biased officiating before MLS stands up for it's teams, players and coaches? Is someone going to have to be seriously injured for Don Garber to wake up and defend his league? Does an embarrassing mass brawl have to break out for you see there is a problem? What will it take Don?
It becoming increasingly easy to agree with people who say your only job is to collect expansion fees and make the right people richer. Your silence makes us wonder if you are working to grow and develop the sport or to protect a financial bottom line. You won't support the Columbus Crew after last night's horrible officiating but I bet you'd be the first to ask their fans to buy tickets to their next CCL home match. Wouldn't you Don?
Jimmy Conrad is more of a leader for MLS than you ever will be Garber. It's time to speak up.