You thought it was time to move on from the Garber/Klinsmann beef? Nope! There’s still plenty of juice to squeeze out of this turnip.
To recap: Jurgen Klinsmann has been on an anti-American rampage. He’s spent the last six months plucking bald eagles even balder and throwing your grandma’s apple pies at the faces on Mt. Rushmore. Before the latest U.S. game in Boca Raton, FL, he was spotted at a T.G.I. Fridays pouring cases of Budweiser into toilets.
The manager and technical director of the U.S. national team also wants you to know that Major League Soccer is a trash league and will probably lead to a career-ending injuries, as well as the dissolution of the marriages of any prominent players dumb enough to be involved with it. He called Michael Bradley a punk and said Clint Dempsey was a “bigger disgrace to Texas hip-hop than Riff Raff”. Harsh.
At least…that’s what I heard. I’ve been busy. Haven’t really had time to read any actual quotes.
Wednesday, Don Garber did what any self-respecting man from Queens would do when he feels his family’s been threatened: He had a conference call with the media. Seemingly out of the blue, The Don went off on a 12-minute rant delivered with the masterful clarity of one of Kanye’s mid-show digressions. The core of the message was Garber telling Jurgen Klinsmann to watch his mouth, and never make the mistake of messing with his money, unless he was ready to face the wrath of the MLS goon squad (a strongly-worded letter from the league’s Board of Governors and sponsorship partners).
Whooo! Garber had the internet on fire. For whatever reason people thought his response was ill-timed and heavy-handed, but those people don’t understand how the streets or corporate boardrooms operate. The code of ethics for both are surprisingly similar and have a lot of quotes from Jay Z’s Black Album. There was no video, and I wasn’t on the call, but there’s no way the Commissioner didn’t deliver his diatribe in front of an American flag, dressed like Gen. Patton, and ended it with “and may God shed his grace on deez” before making an obscene gesture. It was inspiring.
Finally, in an attempt to squash the whole thing once and for all, Klinsmann spoke to the press yesterday and hit them with the ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card: “I think some things were a little misread into my comments.” A savvy veteran coach move. There’s no conflict that can’t be ended with this phrase.
“It’s great to see that we have debates and public discussions like this because that shows that more and more people care about soccer in this country,” Klinsmann said when asked about criticism from MLS Commissioner Don Garber about his views.
“In Europe, in South America and in Mexico we’re all used to this,” Klinsmann said. “It’s part of people’s everyday lives – to have debates about different opinions. It’s just starting now in the United States and I think it’s pretty cool.”
To me, this week feels like the result of a few unpleasant phone calls from people who cut checks putting pressure on Don Garber to protect the MLS brand. I imagine he’s wanted to fire back at Klinsmann for months now.
There’s probably another angle to this – one where Klinsmann is pulling some king fu Jedi shit, and this is all part of his plan to up the pressure levels and change the way Americans think about soccer. Even if that’s true, but I refuse to give him that much credit. Possibly because I’m uncomfortable with the idea of the national team manager being that diabolical.
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