Message from the President: Our All. Our Honour

Southside Post 09:59 Mar 28th, 2015 Updated 13:34 Mar 28th, 2015 Posted by admin

Update:

The Whitecaps have issued the following statement in response to supporters groups’ planned protests: http://www.whitecapsfc.com/whitecaps-fc-statement-regarding-kings-cascadia-scarf

 

Original statement below:

 “OUR ALL. OUR HONOUR.”

 

As many of you are aware the Whitecaps have created a scarf using the trademarked likeness of the Cascadia Cup. There are many questions and concerns about this from our membership and we have been unable to address many of them immediately. We needed the facts, and needed to attempt dialog with the front office before we felt comfortable sharing any information.

 

Let me be clear: the Whitecaps have a legal license to produce and sell this item. They went through the proper channels to secure this license. The Cascadia Cup Council agreed to a clause in our agreement with MLS that if we did not deny a licensing request in a timely matter it would default to granting said license. Through a failure in our email system we did not manage to stop this license from being granted. According to the letter of the law the Whitecaps are entitled to make and sell 300 scarves of that design at retail using the marks of the Cascadia Cup Council.

 

The spirit of the licensing agreement is another matter. We fought for our trademarks to prevent 2 things: corporate branding of our cup, and corporate profiteering from our creations. My understanding was that we agreed to the licensing clause to allow teams to create internal promotional items to celebrate Cascadia Cup victories. This item clearly goes against all of those principles. Had our technology not failed the license would certainly have been denied.

 

We approached the club and expressed our disappointment, our viewpoint on the spirit of the law, filled in the gaps of how the license was granted and offered 2 possible solutions to move forward in an honourable and amicable fashion:
  1. Reconsider selling this item and repurpose it as a promotional give away, or failing that;
  2. Donate the proceeds from this item to one of several charities, and immediately begin promoting the sale of this scarf as a charitable fundraiser.

 

The club has decided against either resolution, believing their actions to be reasonable, lawful, and in the spirit of their empty slogan “Our All. our Honour.” It is clearly an opinion I do not agree with, nor do the rest of my co-directors, the leadership of our other fellow Whitecaps supporters groups, or our counterparts in Portland and Seattle.

 

All of this hubbub could have been avoided with a simple courtesy phone call or email at any number of junctures early in the process. We had a sit down meeting in their offices while the approval process was underway. Doing that would require a basic level of respect and understanding which the club are yet to demonstrate in my 4 seasons as a board member.

 

We have had disputes like this with the club at regular intervals and they result in the same thing each time: mutual promises to do better moving forward, and another failure to do so, usually by the office failing to effectively communicate with us. The last major one occurred a little more than a year ago and at that time I resolved to speak with my wallet. Since Febuary of 2014 I have spent exactly $25 on Whitecaps merchandise and BC Place concessions; I bought a handful of socks and a coffee mug on massive discount at their warehouse sale.

 

I can no longer move forward in good conscience and with personal dignity maintaining the status quo. The only things I have left that the club cares about are my seat, and the hundreds of hours a year I donate to help create the best sporting atmosphere in the city. As an independent supporter I believe in doing my best to better the club and its culture. Part of that is making sure the club is living up to it’s lofty goals and core values. I don’t currently believe that the club is doing so. Regrettably, this leaves me in a position where I feel the need to step forward publicly and ask you to join me in scaling back your support of the club, financial and otherwise. At the minimum #DontBuyThatScarf. If you can avoid spending any money in BC Place today, so much the better.

 

Further, today marks the first gameday in several seasons that I will not be organizing or helping to create the atmosphere in BC Place. It is a painful decision, particularly since we are facing Cascadian rivals, but I don’t feel comfortable doing my best for a company that does not treat me with a basic level of courtesy and understanding. I would invite you to leave your personal Tifo at home, and to follow your capos today, even more than other days.

 

For the first 15 minutes of the game I will be trying something entirely new, sitting in my seat and quietly watching the match. I encourage you to do the same.
I don’t know if we can change the culture of our office together, but I feel like we can try. Until then I invite them to use a truer slogan:

 

“ALL OURS. NO HONOUR.”

 

Brett Bird
President and Director of Stadium Operations

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