I share this mainly because it's the first time I've seen a member of team management (as opposed to an MLS head honcho) speak about the strike threat.
AEG's Tim Leiweke essentially threw down the gauntlet today in an interview with the LA Times.
"Here's our issue, and I'm speaking on behalf of AEG," Leiweke said in an interview with The Times on Monday. "We have spent to the tune of $300 million on soccer. We have spent money on facilities. We at one point owned six of the 10 teams to keep the league alive.
"I don't even know how to react when I hear the players now saying that we have treated them poorly and they're going to strike. The fact is, the Galaxy isn't going to make money this year. There are only a couple of [MLS] teams that will make money this year.
"It's not like this league is a work of completion. It's not like we have accomplished what we have to accomplish to be stable and to know we have a great future. It's not like we have reached the potential of a soccer league in this country.
"So when I hear them talk about striking and shutting the league down, I've got to tell you, they're going to lose us when they talk like that.
"We do this out of passion. If this were a business, we would have quit this 10 years ago."
I've certainly said some things here that could be read as pretty pro-management, and certainly pro status-quo. My opinions, for whatever it's worth, are borne out of the belief that a strike would not only be bad for MLS, but bad for the players and their union. As far as future gains go, if players strike and owners are able to essentially break that strike, you can turn back the clock on any serious gains at least another 5-10 years (just look at the NFL and what happened to their union after two horrible defeats in the 1980s).
That said, Leiweke does his side no favors by coming out in this way. If I were a conspiracy type, I'd almost believe that he's trying to goad the union into striking for the precise reasons I laid out above.
I really don't want the players to strike. If they do, though, I hope for their sake that I'm wrong about what will happen.
Anyone else find it strange that a management team that had kept such a tight lid on rogue voices has apparently sprung a leak? Or maybe they're just worried that too much of the press has been pro player and this is an attempt to balance the scales?