Since Tuesday morning Atlanta United has been in the midst of controversy around the club’s operation. Of course, this started with the article in the Athletic by Felipe Cardenas that brought to light the dynamics of the Atlanta United front office and how relationships between players, coaches, and management deteriorated. This very blog contributed some commentary about the situation and the issue has been discussed throughout MLS and Atlanta United on the Internet.
Yesterday afternoon it was Darren Eales’ turn to chime in on the Athletic piece. The President of Atlanta United appeared on Dukes and Bell, broadcast on the team’s radio partner 92.9 The Game, and offered withering criticism of the article.
In the interview, Eales offered his take, saying “I’m finally convinced we’re going to make it in America with our first tabloid gossip bit with 10 unattributed sources riddled with inaccuracies.” The President rebutted the idea that Tata Martino reported to anyone other than him and noted that Cardenas did not check with the team on that point and said, “the whole thing, it was clickbait.” But Eales did see a positive in that the article is drawing attention to soccer.
However, given the chance to go on the record and comment about a specific point that Cardenas raised regarding the contract negotiation with Darlington Nagbe, Eales said the article’s assertion that the team dragged its feet on his contract renewal was false, but added “I’m not going to talk on any specific players.”
Asked if the article pissed him off a little bit, Eales said “it did in the sense that I’m more upset with the fact that there wasn’t the courtesy of doing the fact-checking. And again, it’s a day now when the old days of journalism are gone a little bit where you check a fact before printing it.”
As it stands now there are two sides to the story with the truth presumably somewhere in the middle. The article has obviously gotten under Eales’ skin, whether or not he also thinks it’s good that it means the team and sport of soccer are getting this kind of attention. In the end, the truth may never be known, but perhaps we all just need a little more time.