BoD - ISC - DC United ban
  • xczimixczimi
    Posts: 3,791

    Heads up, from Garrett Dittfurth (ISC external comm director)

    "We're working on a draft of a statement from the ISC. It will probably be done later today and then refined a bit on Saturday. We'll get it posted here by Sunday. Your jobs are to let your communications people know it's coming and that they should be ready to release it via your websites, social media and passing along to press. This is going to be a full broadside against Ray and MLS for their hypocritical approach to punishment."

    in case any of you have not seen all the details

    This has pretty much everything covered http://dcist.com/2016/04/dc_united_facing_fan_mutiny_as_supp.php includes audio from the DC United staff member.

    Matt Parsons DCU ban: https://www.scribd.com/doc/307070833/Matt-Parsons-Notice-of-DCU-Ban Matt Parsons MLS ban: https://www.scribd.com/doc/307050411/Matt-Parsons-Notice-of-MLS-Ban

    Something you haven't seen yet:

    The following is an e-mail from D.C. United to the leadership of the District Ultras:

    "Srdan, Dennis & co -

    In accordance with the supporter agreement letter (attached), the District Ultras will not be permitted to have flags, flag poles, and drums at the D.C. United match on Saturday, April 9th vs. Vancouver Whitecaps due to the smoke device(s) that were ignited by members of your group on the RFK campus at the game on March 26th vs. FC Dallas.

    Provided there are no additional incidents involving smoke devices or other group misconduct that violate the MLS and DC United Fan Code of Conduct during these matches, those items will be permitted at the next home match on April 16th.

    Continually, if there is additional misconduct at any match throughout the remainder of the season, it will be considered the second offense, and escalating sanctions will be enforced.

    A one year RFK stadium ban has been placed on Matt Parsons for his role in the incident. Additionally, a one year MLS match ban for all MLS venues, and matches has been placed on Matt Parsons from Major League Soccer (attached). Mr. Parsons will be not be allowed on RFK Stadium property for any D.C. United events for one calendar year, and will receive a notification of this via electronic mail and a hard copy via regular mail. These bans will be in effect with or without Mr. Parson’s signature. Please confirm the addresses for Mr. Parsons are correct.

    I EDITED OUT MATT'S ADDRESS

    Mr. Parsons will also be required to give up his credential for the year. The District Ultras will not be permitted to replace Mr. Parson’s credential with another member. District Ultras credentials will not be valid, nor wristbands distributed to the group, until the receipt of this credential.

    Please let me know if you have any questions."

    Summary from jeremy (ISC President)

    As ISC we need to communicate with the league that this is yet again an example of arbitrary, after the fact criminalization of supporter activities that they then celebrate in their advertising. Furthermore, this is yet again an activity where the league is citing a supporters code of conduct that appears to be constantly in flux, secret and seletively applied depending on the media market, club and SG you belong to (basically if you are on Ray Whitworth's "bad boy" list you get the hammer).

    AKA Peter spillt his beer - President / Secretary / Director of Away Travel / ISC rep / IT Crowd Committee - member #124 - BC Place Section 251 Row F 101 --- http://www.xczimi.com
  • ophioliteophiolite
    Posts: 1,014

    I'm a bit surprised that Curva were able to beat us to the punch on a public statement on this, but we can point out that we stand with the District Ultras as a member of the ISC.

    Joann Bessler, GA Section. Member #631.
  • SubhedgehogSubhedgehog
    Posts: 6,539

    I've held back a bit as it's an odd place for us to be, not officially endorsing the use of smoke but having many members who do - though we're clear not to bring anything of the sort onto stadium property. I couldn't help editorializing a bit in the game thread / email though. :P

    This fucking league...

    Paul, VSS Member #557, Section 252 behind the drum
  • xczimixczimi
    Posts: 3,791

    In a way I'm OK with Curva beating us to the punch as they are not ISC and they cross the line more than we do in the first place

    Post edited by xczimi at 2016-04-08 22:14:50
    AKA Peter spillt his beer - President / Secretary / Director of Away Travel / ISC rep / IT Crowd Committee - member #124 - BC Place Section 251 Row F 101 --- http://www.xczimi.com
  • JohnnieMonsterJohnnieMonster
    Posts: 1,420

    The concern for me is we do not have all the facts of this incident. With all due respect to Matt Parsons, we don't know the guy from a hole in the ground. He could be a complete saint, or he could be a major antagonizer. There may very well be much more to this story, so I am reluctant to put his personal issues with DCU at the forefront of any Southsiders messaging.

    I do however think we can fully support calls for transparency and consistency with rules and banning offences.

    Post edited by JohnnieMonster at 2016-04-09 12:16:43
    Member #0011

    Twitter: @johnniemonster
  • JohnnieMonsterJohnnieMonster
    Posts: 1,420

    You'll also see I just tweeted out our usual match day luchador photo with flares and smoke in the background.... so we're saying something without really saying it. :)

    Member #0011

    Twitter: @johnniemonster
  • ophioliteophiolite
    Posts: 1,014

    xczimi said: In a way I'm OK with Curva beating us to the punch as they are not ISC and they cross the line more than we do in the first place

    Right, I was expressing surprise that they grew a backbone. I guess it's easier when it's some other club's FO.

    Joann Bessler, GA Section. Member #631.
  • xczimixczimi
    Posts: 3,791

    I'm pretty sure he is not a saint, and I don't think we should defend him personally.

    AKA Peter spillt his beer - President / Secretary / Director of Away Travel / ISC rep / IT Crowd Committee - member #124 - BC Place Section 251 Row F 101 --- http://www.xczimi.com
  • SubhedgehogSubhedgehog
    Posts: 6,539

    It has almost nothing to do with the individual in this case, but rather everything around it, including the sanctions against the group as a whole.

    This could easily have happened to one of our members and we could be the ones deciding to watch the match from the concourse.

    Paul, VSS Member #557, Section 252 behind the drum
  • bahbah
    Posts: 1,887

    I was hoping to find out more about whether or not DC considers the RFK parking lots to be a part of the stadium, similar to how Terry Fox Plaza is considered to be off limits for us. If so, I can see why DC treated it in the manner that they did, regardless of the intentions of the groups that congregated together for the march. That hasn't been addressed via ISC or the general media.

    I'm trying to put myself in their shoes, and think of how I'd feel if our group as a while we're sanctioned for the actions of one individual, as I feel that it is a matter of time before someone lights one off on our own plaza. I honestly don't know, as I vascillate between throwing said individual under the bus to save the whole, and saying, "We effed up. It's on us." Nevermind the marketing aspect and the associated things we bring up about said issues.

  • xczimixczimi
    Posts: 3,791

    ISC Statement regarding DC. Guys we're really sorry. Life happens. We are going forward with this Tuesday morning. If you could get your groups to retweet, repost, post and send to your media contacts that would be great.

    Independent Supporters Council Calls for Hypocritical, Unfair and Arbitrary Sanctions in MLS to End

    Recently Major League Soccer has taken harsh steps against DC United’s supporters group the District Ultras and targeted Matt Parsons, an active leader of the District Ultras.

    The details of the punishment are widely available. Mr. Parsons lit a smoke device under a two lane car overpass in a march from from the tailgating area by all four of DC United’s supporters groups. The brand of smoke device in question is Enola Gay. It is widely used by many supporters groups inside their stadiums and is not known to cause respiratory problems or sickness of any kind inside these stadiums where they are used.

    The District Ultras received a “punishment” of not being able to wave flags at the April 9th match vs. the Vancouver Whitecaps. Mr. Parsons received the absolutely ridiculous punishment of a one-year ban from R.F.K. stadium and a MLS league wide ban for the remainder of the 2016 season.

    The Independent Supporters Council of North America believes this to be another prime example of the hypocritical, unfair and arbitrary nature of MLS, and it’s member teams, when it comes to dealing with supporters groups.

    In this case, MLS consistently uses photos and videos of supporters groups waving flags, putting up creative tifo, lighting safe smoke devices. A widely circulated video showed a MLSSoccer.com employee lighting a smoke device in a MLS parking lot and running through the crowd with the active device. Yet they chose to ban supporters for doing the very things they celebrate.

    What should be even more disturbing for supporters and fans of MLS teams is the league action itself in banning Mr. Parsons from ALL venues for 2016. This ban is an alarming trend where the league office arbitrarily, and without cause, is singling out fans, supporters and supporters groups for punishment seemingly based on the whims of faceless individuals hiding behind the league badge.

    In this case, Mr. Parsons has been banned from every MLS venue for an action that would not even violate the rules of over 2/3 of the venues he is banned from.

    The Independent Supporters Council of North America wants these hypocritical, unfair and arbitrary sanctions to end immediately.

    First and foremost, the Independent Supporters Council calls for the ludicrous ban on Matt Parsons to be lifted by DC United and MLS immediately.

    Furthermore, we are calling on Ray Whitworth, Vice-President of Security and Operations, to engage with the ISC in developing clear, fair and transparent rules that would regulate league wide bans and sanctions placed on supporters groups or their members.

    This random criminalization of supporters and supporter’s culture is a dangerous step by MLS that threatens to derail the very real gains the league has made in recent years.

    About: The Independent Supporters Council was founded in 2009 to advocate for the fair treatment of home and away supporters, promote supporters culture, and oppose both racism and bias inside stadiums in North America.

    AKA Peter spillt his beer - President / Secretary / Director of Away Travel / ISC rep / IT Crowd Committee - member #124 - BC Place Section 251 Row F 101 --- http://www.xczimi.com
  • xczimixczimi
    Posts: 3,791

    This is going out this morning. Don't see it on the site yet. Might be worth posting on our own.

    AKA Peter spillt his beer - President / Secretary / Director of Away Travel / ISC rep / IT Crowd Committee - member #124 - BC Place Section 251 Row F 101 --- http://www.xczimi.com
  • ophioliteophiolite
    Posts: 1,014

    Yes, please post on our site.

    Joann Bessler, GA Section. Member #631.
  • xczimixczimi
    Posts: 3,791

    I'm having some technical difficulties, emailed @JohnnieMonster and @Subhedgehog for some help

    AKA Peter spillt his beer - President / Secretary / Director of Away Travel / ISC rep / IT Crowd Committee - member #124 - BC Place Section 251 Row F 101 --- http://www.xczimi.com
  • bahbah
    Posts: 1,887

    The response is great. Nuanced, passionate without being over the top, takes the facts into consideration without adding any spin to it. Glad they didn't rush it.

  • bahbah
    Posts: 1,887

    FYI: No concrete information about this one yet, but it appears as if an NYCFC supporter was given a one year ban arbitrarily. I've requested more details, but it appears as if it is part of a larger, more concerning trend.

    Is this something that we've ever brought up to the FO during our meetings in the past? I can't recall a couple of years ago whether or not we did, but it would be good to find out what their take is on these sorts of things, or at least get a sense of what might earn any one of us a one year ban.

  • ophioliteophiolite
    Posts: 1,014

    Colour me cynical, but the answer is probably that anyone can get banned for violating the fan code of conduct. That means that our FO can arbitrarily ban anybody for nearly anything. It all comes down to good will ... which, as with the tifo policy, seems in short supply currently.

    Joann Bessler, GA Section. Member #631.
  • "Error 404: supporters, tifo and atmosphere not found" leave it out where our empty seats are.

    (ignore any date/time stamps by me - my computer is in it's own time zone)

    Post edited by ihatecilantro at 2016-04-15 01:50:39
    Marisa :: Member 1093 :: Director of Stadium Ops
  • bah said: FYI: No concrete information about this one yet, but it appears as if an NYCFC supporter was given a one year ban arbitrarily. I've requested more details, but it appears as if it is part of a larger, more concerning trend.

    http://nycfcforums.com/index.php?threads/supporter-sanctions.4410/

    haha - this course content is hilarious! It's basically an AA intervention http://www.fanconductclass.com/mls/league.aspx

    Post edited by ihatecilantro at 2016-04-15 02:27:38
    Marisa :: Member 1093 :: Director of Stadium Ops
  • bahbah
    Posts: 1,887

    Yeah, I saw some of that stuff on Twitter. Sounds like it's not something that we need to look into any further, as the NYCFC guys were in the wrong (block bathroom entrances/exits to keep a few Fire supporters in and jump them). Just worth keeping an eye on IMO.

  • xczimixczimi
    Posts: 3,791

    From Jeremy on his meeting with Ray. It is long, but worth a read.

    I do apologize for the tardiness of this post. I just wanted to make sure I carved out the time to give it the thoughtfulness you all deserve.

    It's going to be long.

    So if you don’t want to read all of this. Here is one important takeaway – every SG should refuse to sign the “Supporters Agreement” document that we have seen floating around (I’ll explain why later).

    So I went into the meeting with four clear goals:

    1) Establish some sort of relationship between MLS and ISC. With all the league wide stuff happening it's obvious we can't keep playing this game of telephone through our clubs.

    2) Seek understanding. Why does Ray feel the need to create the layers of rules and regulations that actively suppress supporters culture. What are his fears? Why/where do they come from?

    3) Seek clarity. When does something rise to ban worthy level with MLS? What does he choose to elevate and why? Are their rules somewhere? Who decides? Due Process?

    4) Ask directly for the DCU ban to be rescinded.

    Present at the meeting was myself, Scott Swearingen the President of the 107ist, Ray Whitworth Vice-President for Operations for MLS and Jim McClusland who is a former Portland Cop who now serves as a security consultant to the Timbers and MLS.

    In general it seemed that Ray came into the meeting expecting more of a confrontation and I think he was surprised when I didn’t just start yelling. He mentioned our “bad blood” a couple times to start. He’s referencing an email exchange that we had last year in which I simply asked him for a copy of the new Supporters Rules in order to make sure we all had them. Apparently my tone in those emails didn’t sit well with him. I let him know that a) I hold nothing personal against him and b) consider that exchange to be the type of frank, honest dialogue that would be good for the league to have with ISC.

    part 1

    Post edited by xczimi at 2016-04-20 16:20:52
    AKA Peter spillt his beer - President / Secretary / Director of Away Travel / ISC rep / IT Crowd Committee - member #124 - BC Place Section 251 Row F 101 --- http://www.xczimi.com
  • xczimixczimi
    Posts: 3,791

    So here is how I see things wound up in relation to those four objectives above:

    1) Establish some sort of relationship between MLS and ISC. With all the league wide stuff happening it's obvious we can't keep playing this game of telephone through our clubs. Ray seems genuinely interested in developing some sort of dialogue and relationship. That surprised me actually. He talked at length about when he came on board and “fired Evan Dabby” he embarked on an initiative to “get the league out of the way” and let clubs deal with their individual SG’s. But he also made it clear that he has and wants to continue to create league wide standards and practices on everything security related. He mentioned several times that we could have a couple ISC members sit on a league council of some sort. Not sure what his vision was there. He also made it clear that while he may desire a relationship with the ISC we “only represent” 56% of the SG membership in MLS (more on his love of stats later) and he has to look out for all SG’s as well as the “other 93% of the people in the stadium who don’t belong to SG’s”. I was curious about the basis of his 56% number as he mentioned it several times, he only said that it was “based on their calculations” After the 4th time he mentioned the 56% number I stopped him and said “but we represent 100% of your advertising”. Bottom Line: the trust isn’t there at all but I think we have chance at some dialogue going forward.

    2) Seek understanding. Why does Ray feel the need to create the layers of rules and regulations that actively suppress supporters culture. What are his fears? Why/where do they come from? Ray started his response to this line of my inquiry by giving a lengthy story about his first match in Philadelphia and a capo on a ladder “drunkenly waving a smoke bomb around” as an example of what he sees as lax rules prior to his arrival. He went out of his way to say multiple times he doesn’t hate supporters or fans but he will not tolerate the “10 knuckle heads who just don’t want to follow the rules” (more on rules later). He kept tryin to show us pictures of “the destruction” in Montreal last year by Toronto fans. He clearly just doesn’t like those that don’t follow the law. To be honest I didn’t come away with a better understanding of what’s really driving him other than he is a man who has been law and order his whole life, comes from a football culture that doesn’t understand supporters culture and our chaotic ways freak him out. He also stated many times he wanted to leave a foundation of security policies that would continued without him.

    3) Seek clarity. When does something rise to ban worthy level with MLS? What does he choose to elevate and why? Are their rules somewhere? Who decides? Due Process? We spent the majority of time on this topic. You would not believe how long we talked about “approved smoke device” policy. I will try to sum things up. Here’s the deal – there are 7 supporters’ policies created by the league of which the 7th is the smoke bomb policy. He showed me a slide with the policy that clearly stated that use of an unapproved smoke bomb is a one year ban. Here is where things got a little heated. I asked multiple times for him to share that policy with me so I could share it with all of you and he refused. Most of his refusal centered around “not wanting to have a debate on social media about our rules”. I tried multiple ways to explain to him nobody cares about debating on social media but they do care about knowing if rules that result in year bans exist. How you can have a policy aimed at a specific group and then not make said policy public for that group to know about simply makes no sense. The bottom line with smoke bombs is Ray CLAIMS that he and MLS isn’t against their use in venues where Fire Marshalls have approved them for use. My take: I have a strong suspicion that when Fire Marshalls get involved Ray puts his thumb on the scale in his dealings with them. Ray loves his statistics. Didn’t you know that since the imposition of the smoke device policy (that none of us had actually seen) the use of unapproved smoke devices has gone down by 18%? Scott asked him how he measured that – spent canisters? Etc. He didn’t really answer.

    We then got into the specifics of the DCU case and here is what he laid out for me. That Matt knew he wasn’t supposed to light off the smoke bomb and he did anyway and the DCU FO has communicated that he was clearly aware of the policy BECAUSE DCU SIGNED THE SUPPORTERS AGREEMENT. He showed me the agreement. I said I had seen it already (which surprised him, I still think he doesn’t understand that we aren’t drooling idiots who actually communicate) and I pointed out it says nothing specific about individual bans or a year or anything in relation to a smoke device policy. Just nebulous language about “won’t use unapproved smoke devices”. Ray also said he never acts until a team does. That his bans always follow their bans. When I pushed him on who decides and how and due process he basically said: “I do, and there is no due process”. Scott circled back to this a little later and asked again “So there are people who are clearly on your bad list or as your refer to them “10 knuckleheads”. Do they know they are on the list before they get these bans? If the violate a rule is there a path back to legitmacy?” The short answer from Ray (after a very long story about some DC United supporter named Darth (?) ) was no and no.

    4) Ask directly for the DCU ban to be rescinded. I directly asked for the ban on Matt to be lifted. He said no. Full stop. I again pointed out the insanity of banning someone for an offense that is perfectly acceptable in many places in the league. That the optics on this is terrible and seems draconian and most importantly he continually referenced a smoke policy that he won’t even show supporters. His response was “Matt knew about the consequences, DCU FO have told me in no uncertain terms he knew and THE DCU SIGNED THE “SUPPORTERS AGREEMENT”. We concluded with an agreement to meet again, or at least keep talking, in order to build some sort of relationship between the ISC and the League. He was very concerned about me going off and trashing him on social media. I made it very clear I would report my take on it to this group as I had no interest, nor was I authorized to, to simply hold private convos with the league.

    I also let him know that while I respect our new found dialogue protests and actions re: Matt would probably continue. No offense.

    So where does that leave things? I will take all of your guidance but in the short term I would strongly recommend no supporters groups sign that agreement your FO is putting in front of you. It is clearly there to be used as a justification for bannings etc.

    AKA Peter spillt his beer - President / Secretary / Director of Away Travel / ISC rep / IT Crowd Committee - member #124 - BC Place Section 251 Row F 101 --- http://www.xczimi.com
  • SubhedgehogSubhedgehog
    Posts: 6,539

    Thanks for passing this along Peter. As we all knew, anything that we put our names or associate our groups with is used as a hammer for fuck us right up when the club or league wants to.

    Paul, VSS Member #557, Section 252 behind the drum
  • bahbah
    Posts: 1,887

    I just got to it at lunch hour. Glad that Jeremy had the chance to meet up with Ray this weekend.

    So perhaps it is worth, at the next FO meeting, bringing this up as a point of discussion, at least with respect to the warning/ban process. Obviously we will not sign any type of document in this regard, but at least we would (hopefully) be somewhat prepared to share what can get you banned with the membership.

  • xczimixczimi
    Posts: 3,791

    bah said: I just got to it at lunch hour. Glad that Jeremy had the chance to meet up with Ray this weekend.

    So perhaps it is worth, at the next FO meeting, bringing this up as a point of discussion, at least with respect to the warning/ban process. Obviously we will not sign any type of document in this regard, but at least we would (hopefully) be somewhat prepared to share what can get you banned with the membership.

    @bah that's one of the things we have already accomplished, the SGs are not signing anything regarding the code of conduct as the club accepted that the Fan Code of Conduct as published applies to everybody attending the game. Those rules still need cleanup, but we are protected from group bans. (at least we think we are :) )

    We have an ongoing disagreement is about the tifo approval process, that's what we are dealing with right now.

    Post edited by xczimi at 2016-04-20 17:05:39
    AKA Peter spillt his beer - President / Secretary / Director of Away Travel / ISC rep / IT Crowd Committee - member #124 - BC Place Section 251 Row F 101 --- http://www.xczimi.com
  • bahbah
    Posts: 1,887

    What I meant by my comment was force the FO's hand and talk to them directly about what the punishment is for not following the Code of Conduct. I know that we didn't sign it, and that there was no intention of signing it. However, I can also see the club randomly enforcing aspects of it regardless of whether we did or did not sign a document that refers to any type of fan conduct.

    Additionally, I would hope that we have the conversation to alleviate any issues pertaining to the general fan Code of Conduct that accompanies the ticket purchase and general behaviours outlined both on the website and mentioned explicitly in the stadium during PA announcements. There are a number of items outlined in that messaging that a large number of our members partake in every game, and it would not surprise me in the least if the FO pointed to the general agreement and PA announcements acting as a means of informing/reminding people about what is acceptable and what is not, and then turning around and slapping them with bans should they not follow through in the spirit of the agreement.

    One of the constant criticisms of the board over the years, both while I was serving, and since then, has been the lack of sharing of information. I'm not advocating that we share the ins and outs of what we do all of the time, but something like this is extremely pertinent to our membership, and worth someone explaining to our members that there is the potential for them to be banned somewhat arbitrarily. In some ways, it's more important than the tifo battle that is going on (on which I have been updated), as it has the potential to be of a greater impact to our greater membership than tifo.

    Just my two cents.

  • xczimixczimi
    Posts: 3,791

    I think we already discussed it, just wasn't sure how up to date you are at the moment :)

    AKA Peter spillt his beer - President / Secretary / Director of Away Travel / ISC rep / IT Crowd Committee - member #124 - BC Place Section 251 Row F 101 --- http://www.xczimi.com

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