Small Thinking Rears Its Ugly Head Among MLS Ownership, Again

As we are constantly reminded in MLS, some ownerships just don't seem to get "it." Mostly, "it" refers to the unique -- at least in the North American landscape -- nature of supporters culture. While some teams -- not so coincidentally many of the more highly attended ones -- have embraced this relationship, some of them continue to show a baffling lack of comprehension.

The latest example comes from the New York Red Bulls, an organization you might assume would know better as the ownership's roots are in Europe. But check out the team response to their supporters' letter notifying them of their intention to stage a silent protest over the team's capitulation in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals:

Thank you for the note as I appreciate understanding your reasons to express yourself in this manner. We love your passion for New York's Soccer Team and value your support through good times and not so good. I believe that it is your right to protest in a peaceful way even if I don't agree with your reasons. I believe this is one of the greatest gifts our country affords us every day. On a day when a terrorist act takes the lives away of innocent individuals (Erik's home town of Oslo, Norway), it certainly puts sport in proper perspective. Sports in general, soccer in this case, should be a place to appreciate our freedoms and allow us a safe environment to enjoy ourselves with friends and family. Please enjoy this game and every Red Bulls game in the future.

Sincerely,
Chris Heck
Go New York Red Bulls

There's missing the point, and then there's having no idea whatsoever the point could have possibly been. Is Heck really explaining his understanding that supporters don't, in fact, have to cheer on their team? Is he really bringing up the infinitely unrelated issue of the Norway tragedy? Is there any chance he actually read the letter supporters sent his office?

There is not a single shred of evidence in that note that suggests Heck has any idea what he's responding to. It seems quite possible that Heck simply submitted the form response for "what to say when a group stages a protest."

Even as a somewhat detached observer of this situation, I find that response heart-breaking. I can only imagine how the supporters actually feel.

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