May 30 – 2007
When Alexi Lalas was handed the keys to the Metrostars, I remember thinking, “Good for him, but I doubt he’ll cut it as aÂ suit.”Â Well doubt no more – the guy makes David Stern look like Timothy Leary.Â He is a poster child for suitdom, a shining example of suitness.
This past week, Lalas has been extra loose with the MBA-speak.Â First, in response to the Beckham recall, Lalas was quoted as saying
“From a business perspective, it is not the greatest news as we are selling a team with David Beckham in it and a lot of people are excited about seeing him play with the Galaxy.Â He has a responsibility on and off the field to our organisation and our sport and he recognises that.”
Inspiring stuff.Â The blatant concern not for the Galaxy’s position in the table, or the health of their star, but for “selling the team” is a thing to behold.Â FIFA, then, were justly concerned that Lalas’s comments may have violatedÂ statutesÂ regarding release of players for international duty.Â Â
And if that weren’t enough, Lalas had a go at relegation as well:
“Because we are a business,” Lalas replied, “and in order to attract new business and new ownership to an already very powerful and excited ownership group that we have, we need to make sure that when they come into the league, that they’re going to stay in the league…It’s a very foreign concept to sports in the United States.”
Welcome to the Soccernista Shit-List (if such a thing exists), Alexi.Â When you maneuvered your way back behind the curtain, I assumed you’d want to be a force for change, a voice of soccer reason.Â Turns out you are only too willing to align your influence with forces desperate to maintain status quo and eliminate risk.
Relegation is too foreign for Americans; just like soccer.Â GetÂ thee to aÂ business class, Lalas,Â and learn something about product differentiation.Â Making this league like every other American franchise-league won’t attract any new fans, and will onlyÂ turn off fans who live in America but choose to watch foreign leagues.Â Â But we’ve been through that, haven’t we…