When I woke up this morning, I knew there was something special about this day. The air was crisp, the birds were chirping a lovely song (“Them Changes” by Thundercat, because that’s the jam), and deep in my soul I felt a profound concern about the salary cap viability of the New England Revolution’s midfield. It could only mean one thing: today was Major League Soccer Salary Day! ⚽️🎉🇺🇸
MLS Salary Day is one of the high holy festivals of the MLS liturgical calendar. It’s the day that, for whatever reason, the MLS Players Union takes the salary information of every player in the league — salaries that have been hiding behind a “terms are undisclosed” smoke screen all year — and dumps it in America’s lap like a bucket of crawfish in some Louisiana seafood shack. It’s beautiful, and I love it all.
MLS Salary Day is when we gather ’round the ol’ Twitter machines like a family, share some coffee and learn seemingly farcical but somehow factual things, like New York City FC paying Mix Diskerud $750,000 a year to be a boringly safe midfielder and even worse tweeter. Meanwhile, Benny Feilhaber is balling like young Andrea Pirlo for Sporting Kansas City, getting half the money and none of the national team call-ups. It’s cold out here in these MLS salary streets! No justice!
The players themselves aren’t necessarily too fond of MLS Salary Day, yet their union leadership keeps the holiday season alive. Players have to understand that once a year, fans and media folks need to get these jokes off. It’s tradition. It’s healthy for everyone. It’s like that movie The Purge, where for one day a year, the government makes everything legal in hopes that citizens will get all the asshole tendencies worked out of their systems and be civil for the other 364 days. It never works out that way, but the optimism is valiant.
Like The Purge, MLS Salary Day should kickoff a lawless and frenzied American soccer free-for-all. All off-field crimes and in-game fouls this weekend — provided they are motivated by salary grievances, wage and lifestyle envy or contract regrets — should be perfectly legal. You want tonight’s California Clasico to get ratings? Imagine Steven Gerrard making his LA Galaxy debut in a game where some $50,000-a-year Earthquakes defender was allowed to come in hot with a reckless challenge and steal his wallet at halftime. You’re not turning away from that.
MLS players’ agents across the country should be taking long lunches and keeping their heads on a swivel as they walk to their cars, because they never know when that Homegrown kid they represent is going to come asking questions with a baseball bat.
Not that anyone gives a shit about your employer’s finances (no one’s selling tickets to watch people staple TPS reports), but imagine if the whole country knew that sometime around July 15, your salary would be published. People would stone me to death if they knew what Soccer Gods paid for rude tweets and half-baked blogs like this.
People say they want transparency in MLS. Nothing would bring about more honesty than The Purge: MLS Salary Day. People would think twice about structuring and negotiating deals that bound players to a life of treating Chipotle burritos like a banquet feast. Nothing provides more motivation for people to live right than the treat of violence. Think about it, Don Garber.