Skip to content

Is MLS being naïve about Robbie Rogers’ return and how it might be seen?

May 5, 2013, 6:10 PM EDT

MLS logo

Getting Robbie Rogers back into MLS uniform would be wonderful for everyone, for the larger message of acceptance, for the added quality, for the added media exposure that would surely come tumbling in and, not least, for the man himself.

Rogers wants to play in Los Angeles, understandably so. All the nervous parts would unfold closer to family and to familiar elements. And let’s not kid ourselves; performing as the first openly gay male in U.S. professional sports is high on the nervy scale.

So, clearly this is a special situation.

But how special? And how special does it need to be treated when it comes to roster policies? Because Rogers’ MLS rights belong elsewhere, and at some point, rules are rules.

The league needs to handle this with some care – and so far that hasn’t happened. MLS commissioner Don Garber doesn’t sound like he’s too worried about tampering here. Perhaps technically it doesn’t quality because Chicago signed off on Rogers training with the Galaxy.

But can’t MLS play this out a little and then recognize how it will be seen if not handled just so?

Yes, it would be good if Chicago arranged a deal with the Galaxy. But, again, at some point a league is a league and the Fire has every right to pursue maximum value in a swap. At some point, Rogers is an asset just like any other, one for which Chicago traded another asset previously.

(MORE: Rogers says MLS return likely in 2013)

Rogers removed any leverage that Chicago may have held with his revelation this morning that he isn’t very interested in playing for the Fire, that he would just “punt” instead of moving to Illinois. So, game over for the Fire.

MLS teams have been strong-armed into dealing with little leverage before. It happened with Freddy Adu and Dallas, which pretty much gave him away to D.C. United. It happened with promising U.S. under-20 attacker Luis Gil, whose rights were held by Kansas City but who wanted to be in Utah with Real Salt Lake.

Another “pennies on the dollar” arrangement that is, uh, “encouraged” by the league will be seen differently this time. Why? First because there will be far more eyes on this one.

But the bigger problem is that it’s the Galaxy. You know … David Beckham, Landon Donovan, AEG power suits, potential landing strip for Frank Lampard or Kaka or … well, you get the message.

Perhaps Chicago should take a little less than market value “for the good of the league.” But it’s naïve to think that all fans in all markets are going to see it that way.

After all, some might rightly say, there is another team in Southern California, right?

Latest Posts
  1. MLS Snapshot: San Jose Earthquakes 1-1 Orlando City SC

    May 24, 2015, 9:28 PM EDT

    Chris Wondolowski, San Jose Earthquakes Getty Images

    Final: San Jose Earthquakes 1-1 Orlando City SC

  2. West Brom manager Tony Pulis unsure of his team’s possible sale

    May 24, 2015, 8:10 PM EDT

    Swansea City v Crystal Palace - Premier League Getty Images

    Pulis on chairman Jeremy Peace selling West Brom: “I think he wants to get an investor in or someone who can financially take the club onto another level.”

  3. WATCH: Crystal Palace’s top-10 finish “unbelievable”, says Pardew

    May 24, 2015, 6:20 PM EDT

    Alan Pardew, Crystal Palace FC Alan Pardew, Crystal Palace FC

    Alan Pardew has seen Crystal Palace rise to snag a 10th place Premier League finish.

  4. Manuel Pellegrini on speculation of his firing: “I never had any doubt all season”

    May 24, 2015, 5:25 PM EDT

    Manuel Pellegrini, Manchester City FC Getty Images

    Manchester City ended its Premier League season in second place, and manager Manuel Pellegrini is optimistic about his job safety.

  5. Championship playoff final preview: Middlesbrough and Norwich eye Premier League dream

    May 24, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    NorwichMiddlesbrough Getty Images

    With 90 minutes at Wembley to prove they’re worthy of the Premier League, the third and fourth place finishers in the Championship do battle with promotion on the line.

  6. Premier League final day roundup: 2014-15 season finishes with a flourish

    May 24, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    In case you missed anything, here’s what happened on the final day of the PL season.

  7. Report: Schalke has fired Roberto Di Matteo after failing to earn Champions League play

    May 24, 2015, 2:36 PM EDT

    DiMatteo Getty Images

    The club won just three of its final 14 matches, nosediving out of a Champions League position and leaving the manager without a job.

  8. Newcastle’s owner gives rare interview: “From this day forward we will be making our own luck.”

    May 24, 2015, 2:07 PM EDT

    Newcastle United's English owner Mike Ashley (L) smiles with managing director Lee Charnley (R) as he waits for the kick off in the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and West Ham United at St James Park, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, north east England on May 24, 2015. AFP PHOTO / IAN MACNICOL

RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR LIVE SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS.        (Photo credit should read Ian MacNicol/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    This summer will be key, especially if Middlesbrough brings another set of Northeast Derbies to the Premier League. What’s next for Newcastle?

  9. VIDEO: Arsene Wenger pleased after big season-ending win

    May 24, 2015, 1:45 PM EDT

    Wenger Getty Images

    Arsenal finished the season in third place and put on a good showing in their final match of the season.

  10. Brendan Rodgers takes “full responsibility” for Liverpool’s season-ending disaster

    May 24, 2015, 1:04 PM EDT

    Rodgers Getty Images

    The Liverpool manager knows he could have hurt his position today with a 6-1 thumping at the hands of Stoke City on the season’s final day.

  11. VIDEO: John Terry lifts Premier League title as Chelsea’s celebrations begin

    May 24, 2015, 1:03 PM EDT

    Chelsea v Sunderland - Premier League Getty Images

    The Blues hoist the trophy in front of their own fans in west London.

  12. ‘Exhausted’ Bruce after Hull relegation: “My future is for others to decide”

    May 24, 2015, 12:45 PM EDT

    during the Barclays Premier League match between Hull City and Manchester United at KC Stadium on May 24, 2015 in Hull, England. Getty Images

    Hull spent on Abel Hernandez and others in a relatively splashy summer, but still sink into the second tier.

  13. Newcastle’s Carver: “I want a summer where I can bring in the players I want”

    May 24, 2015, 12:36 PM EDT

    Newcastle United's Argentinian midfielder Jonas Gutierrez (R) celebrates after he scores with Newcastle United's English head coach John Carver (L) during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and West Ham United at St James Park, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, north east England on May 24, 2015. Newcastle won the game 2-0 to avoid relegation. AFP PHOTO / IAN MACNICOL

RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR LIVE SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS.        (Photo credit should read Ian MacNicol/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    A resilient John Carver, buoyed by Newcastle United avoiding the drop, has reiterated his desire to lead the Premier League club.

  14. Aston Villa 0-1 Burnley: Ings ensures Clarets finish with a win

    May 24, 2015, 12:35 PM EDT

    Aston Villa v Burnley - Premier League Getty Images

    Clarets sign off with a win as Villa go into FA Cup final on the back of two-straight defeats.

  15. West Ham announce Sam Allardyce will not return as manager

    May 24, 2015, 12:27 PM EDT

    Allardyce Getty Images

    West Ham released a statement on Allardyce’s removal seconds after Sunday’s final whistle.

Featured video

Chelsea lift the 2014-15 PL trophy