In case you’ve been living under a rock the past few days, Atlanta United have a bit of a problem. Their star winter signing and new manager are beefing and doing it publicly. As if there was any doubt about this after Frank de Boer called Pity Martinez out in the media several times over the past few weeks, the player confirmed it on Argentine radio on Thursday.
Finally, on Friday, both parties and the club president spoke publicly on the matter. First, Carlos Bocanegra appeared on 92.9 The Game earlier in the morning to pour some water on the fire by saying both the player and manager have squashed any beef that may have existed.
Carlos Bocanegra just went on @929TheGame to discuss the Pity Martinez drama. Said Pity and Frank de Boer talked this morning.— Joe Patrick (@japatrick200) July 12, 2019
"There's nothing to it... Both guys are over it... You have a conversation with everybody and it's sorted out quite easily."https://t.co/EWdVJBfd8y
De Boer was the first to speak at the team’s scheduled post-training media availability and was defiant regarding the comments he made criticizing Pity.
Frank de Boer just spoke. I asked if he regretted being as frank as he’s been in postmatch pressers re: Pity’s performances. He said he doesn’t and that he’d discussed his thoughts with Pity prior to speaking to media. #ATLUTD— Joe Patrick (@japatrick200) July 12, 2019
This whole ordeal seems to have begun after Atlanta’s win over the Montreal Impact on June 29 when the Dutchman discussed his reasoning for substituting Pity out early from that match.
“When it’s a danger for the team, I have to take any player out who is a danger for the team at that moment,” de Boer said. “He doesn’t do it on purpose, but he has to realize, ‘OK, it was short notice that we play again.’ Maybe he was tired, but he has to know where he has to make those plays. Do we have too many men in front of the ball? Then you cannot lose the ball. He has to understand that better, but I still believe in him. He has to improve there.” — Frank de Boer on Pity Martinez; Source: MLSSoccer.com
The following match, Pity was taken off after less than 15 minutes due to a series of unfortunate events that left Atlanta down a man and three goals to the Chicago Fire. After that, a 3-3 draw with the New York Red Bulls at home saw even more post-match public criticism of Pity come from De Boer as the manager questioned his work rate.
“We have to win duels, and in my point of view, he did not do enough to avoid giving someone an easy long ball,” de Boer told reporters after the game. ”You saw, Brandon (Vazquez) came in and it was a different story. I want not 10, or nine, or eight men who work very hard, everybody has to work hard, especially in these kinds of games. These are very difficult games.” Source: MLSSoccer.com
Finally, after airing out the dirty laundry and revealing his unhappiness with the manager through the Argentine media a day before, Pity spoke after training and confirmed that it was indeed the public comments by De Boer that upset him, specifically the “danger to the team” remark after the Impact match.
De Boer said he gave Pity his criticisms before talking to the press and that he would not speak “behind his back.” Pity said they talk often. It seems Pity’s specific complaint is about the “danger to the team” comment de Boer made after the Montreal game.— Chris Fuhrmeister (@ccfuhr) July 12, 2019
Say what you will about Pity’s performances so far in Atlanta, I think any athlete would be upset to see/hear their manager talk about them this way to the media. It’s human nature to have this kind of reaction.
Pity also alluded to De Boer’s style of play and how it differed to what he was expecting from Atlanta United coming in.
On the style of play under FdB: pic.twitter.com/DdHQ6zgRms— Joe Patrick (@japatrick200) July 12, 2019
Both parties have spoken. We know the root of the issue. Is it over and done with now? Only time will tell. But it’s better to have everything out in the open than festering underneath. Now we can just hope that it’s in the past.