Remember that terrible animated kids show Raccoons? It was all about some raccoons outside of Vancouver who kept fighting this aardvark aptly named Cyril Sneer, an industrialist who wanted to chop down trees because he was an asshole or something.
Anyway, Don Garber seems like a lot nicer than Cyril Sneer, and a hell of a lot nicer than most other deeply despised North American commissioners—Goodell, Selig, Stern and Bettman—but as Counter Attack has observed, MLS is being very Cyril Sneer out in Flushing Meadows.
The Queens Chronicle editorial team has had enough:
The deal MLS seeks with the city would be a steal, literally, in all but the legal sense. It wants a $1 a year lease for up to 13 acres of public parkland — the classic deal politicians and private for-profit businesses cook up behind closed doors to take the citizens’ property without compensation.
That deal, which must be stopped, is at the heart of why MLS is in such a rush. If it doesn’t get public land essentially for free, the league will have to buy the 10 to 13 acres it needs for a 25,000 seat arena on the open market.
All that the public would get in exchange is 13 acres of new parkland somewhere else —but not all in one chunk — and the rehab of some existing soccer fields at Flushing Meadows, which should be a city job anyway. MLS also says it would invest tens of millions of dollars in the park, but it’s vague as to how and where, as it is on so many details, even when its president met with us last week.
The editorial goes off the rails a bit at the end into xenophobic territory—”the one possible owner that’s been reported on in the press is an Arab oil sheik, a prospect we find troubling”—but it’s clear that MLS is going to face a major public relations battle in their attempt to buy a stadium on parkland for a team that doesn’t even exist.
So there Jason Davis! This story isn’t so “meh” now, is it?