NewsFeb 18, 2020

Statement From Bob Foose on the Ongoing Situation with FC Cincinnati

The diversity of our members is one of the greatest strengths of the MLSPA. Similarly, the diversity of our collective fan base is one of the greatest strengths of Major League Soccer. While blending such broadly multi-cultural groups into single, cohesive units requires hard work and effective communication, there are certain universal truths that are crystal clear. One of these truths is that there is absolutely no place for racism and intolerance of any form in MLS. The pattern of conduct of the former FC Cincinnati coach fell far short of acceptable standards, and created an untenable and unfair working environment for our players. We appreciate the swift and thorough investigation conducted by the league into this matter. We are grateful for the many values that we share, chief among them the importance of inclusion, and we applaud the manner in which the league has worked to uphold these values.

At the same time, we have been incredibly disappointed by the attempts to manipulate the public conversation over the last few days with false narratives and strategic leaks to the press. For example, the narrative that the conduct here involved singing along to song lyrics is completely false, despite the former coach’s recent assertions. Also false is the narrative that a complaint was filed by any particular player or players. These intentional falsehoods have added to the toxicity of the atmosphere and encouraged further, deplorable abuse of players. They were clear attempts to manipulate the truth and intimidate those who call out unacceptable behavior. It is our sincere hope that FC Cincinnati will learn from and address these mistakes, and begin to chart a new course forward, one that includes treating all of its players, current and former, with fairness and respect.