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Keeping Austin Weird Means Keeping Austin Original

As you’ve read throughout the past couple weeks, the ongoing situation with the Columbus Crew and the shockingly bold and unrepentant deceit from scumbag Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt and scumbag MLS Commissioner Don Garber and the #SaveTheCrew movement are much more than a “huh, that’s interesting” moment or mere hashtag and rallying cry.

This is all deeply personal and this leads me to the next chapter in this winding, unfolding saga:

Authenticity.

More specifically, authenticity in Austin, Texas.

“Keep Austin Weird” is the signature slogan that personifies the culturally weird city of Austin, Texas. And that weirdness is viewed as an affectionate label internally and externally. Moreover, it’s important to understand not only what makes Austin weird, but who makes Austin such a weirdly fun place to live.

Rick Smith, a current resident of Austin who used to live in suburban Columbus, recently spoke with news outlet MyStatesman located in Austin about a critical difference between the sports fanbases of Austin and Columbus in an article titled “1 team, 2 cities: Columbus fans ponder possibility of Crew to Austin.”

“A lot of people in Columbus are from there so they associate themselves in my eyes more with the Crew,” he said. “Here, everyone is associated with Dallas, with California, with the (New England) Patriots, Green Bay — with everything else. There’s so many more transplants here that if you bring a soccer team here I don’t think it will be noticed.”
–Chris Bils, MyStatesman Correspondent

Perception (cough cough Austin) versus reality (cough cough Columbus) isn’t always a tricky quandary to navigate, especially when the reality is a wonderfully historic and storied place when not actively sabotaged through horrific TV deals, a mountain of lying and a complete lack of presumed investments to fix small problems that are easily fixable (cough cough improved parking spaces and traffic patterns post-match).

I think I need to get some cough medicine; it’s that time of year.

Let’s always remember the tragic deception involving secret backdoor deals betraying the Columbus Crew and its faithful fans, including innocent Crew staff, for the past four years all began with the inauthenticity of Anthony Precourt and the inauthenticity of MLS Commissioner Don Garber towards Crew Nation and MLS followers as a whole.

BTW: Inauthenticity is putting it very lightly.

If Austin wants an MLS club, then build one from the ground up like Columbus did and work your ass off to make it your own. Being weird, which is literally what defines Austin, means never copying anyone or anything and being unique to your city’s famous rallying cry. In other words, being authentic. If (key word here) Austin wants an MLS club, it needs to evolve the right way like Columbus with Lamar Hunt and his group of admirable business leaders in the mid-’90s. Any other scheme (key word here) to get an MLS club in the image of/literally from another city would be a form of stealing and just flat-out weird…

and not in a good way, Austin.

#SaveTheCrew 

FIFA’s Red Card

(Pascal Mora, New York Times)

(Pascal Mora, New York Times)

FIFA’s uninterrupted, pampered 5-star treatment may finally be downgraded.

The breaking news regarding the arrests of several high-ranking FIFA officials (sans Sepp Blatter) at the 5-star Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich, Switzerland is a bombshell everyone saw coming a mile away. Its severity is enormous, yet it surprises virtually nobody, especially those who followed the bidding process of the upcoming two World Cups ( 2018 – Russia and 2022 – Qatar) that was riddled with accusations of painfully obvious corruption. The only surprise may be that the indictments were actually given.

FIFA is a multi-billion dollar organization with a surreal reach that hugs the entire globe in literally every country that has a soccer ball that has even the slightest ambition in getting a second ball…and soccer fields, media deals, inclusion with the world’s top nations and tournaments, etc. As Joshua Robinson revealed in a great article in the Wall Street Journal titled, “Why FIFA Can’t Get Out of Its Own Way,” every nation is counted as equals in the voting for its president. This unfair fairness, equalizing the voting impact of soccer leaders like Brazil, Germany, Italy, Argentina and Holland with Mauritius is mind-bogglingly incompetent. The most vital reason is the devastatingly easy route to corruption and abuse to bribe the smallest, least influential nations with “goodies” (use your imagination) that propel them in ways that might be nearly impossible on the pitch alone.

Now, Mauritius is not guilty of any wrong-doing, but they were listed only to serve as an example of a tiny nation that’s granted the same voting weight as soccer powerhouses.

The charges, accusations and evidence of bribery brought by the U.S. Department of Justice constitutes a long list of illegal activities that began in 1991, including hundreds of millions of dollars exchanged for precious influence and privilege in a variety of high-profile circumstances. And the soccer region that was a major player in these actions was CONCACAF. Yes, this is the same qualifying group as the United States of America.

According to the indictment, several international soccer events were tainted by bribes and kickbacks involving media and marketing rights: World Cup qualifiers in the Concacaf region; the Gold Cup, a regional championship tournament; the Concacaf Champions League; the Copa América; and the South American club championship, the Copa Libertadores. The indictment also claims that bribes and kickbacks were found in connection with the selection of the host country for the 2010 World Cup.  

Absorbing all this information results in one immediate conclusion: FIFA is not of sound mind or sound ethics to be the governing body of the world’s game. Soccer is too amazing of a sport to be dragged down by greedy executives and immoral officials. Perhaps the most vindicated collection of people today are referees, who are now able to declare they are (in accordance with the law) not the most corrupting force in the soccer.

However, this fact can be heavily debated and proven otherwise without much difficulty, but FIFA’s governing body is first in line for scrutiny and punishment right now. Well, we’ll have to see about that whole “punishment” thing, specifically when referring to re-voting on future World Cup sites.

The issue was, in fact, raised again Wednesday. When pressed by reporters at the news conference, Walter de Gregorio, a FIFA spokesman, repeatedly said that FIFA would not consider reopening the bid process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.   

There are almost no words. This shockingly oblivious admission of reality promises these bribery and corruption charges will sustain for at least the next 7 years, as de Gregorio wants.

The 14 FIFA officials arrested took the beautiful game whose roots grow with strength, purpose and opportunity in the poorest and richest nations and flooded it with dirty money, thereby damaging the sport’s foundation of hard work, creativity and upward mobility in countries and neighborhoods all around the world.

Do you remember when Zinedine Zidane headbutt Marco Materazzi of Italy in the 2006 World Cup Final?

This is like that, except magnified hundreds of millions of dollars times.

Clinton’s Calculated Chicanery

“What difference, at this point, does it make?”

That was an appallingly disgraceful dodge of a question made by a top American official under congressional testimony. The inquiry was an attempt at finding some degree of the truth regarding the horrific events that occurred at the American diplomatic compound on September 11, 2012 in Benghazi, Libya. Still shocking years later, this response came from the secretary of state in what appeared to be a reprehensibly rehearsed comeback to deflect any culpability for not fulfilling her duties by not responding to multiple requests for increased security for those now deceased Americans who were stationed in a Middle East post, including Ambassador Stevens.

The people who murdered those Americans have not been brought to justice, unless you count a random guy who made a YouTube video that had nothing to do with the attacks. And Hillary Clinton has yet to take responsibility for failing to provide increased security that was directly requested for in that dangerous location. That was part of her job description and she failed miserably. It can be argued that it was a fatal mistake. Perhaps she was too busy buying a stupid red button from the dollar store that symbolized her delusional vision and inadequate judgement for world diplomacy.

Mr. Putin has clearly taken it seriously as a pivot in his actions.

As the story regarding a clear violation and security risks (and political donations?) linked to her exclusive private email use as secretary of state continue to unfold, Mrs. Clinton certainly had time to email during her 4-year tenure as the leader of American foreign affairs. Why wasn’t an ambassador a top priority emailing partner for her? Will she be held fully accountable by the national media for the recent revelations surrounding donations made by Middle Eastern countries to the Clinton Foundation while she was secretary of state? Will Hillary Clinton accept responsibility for her decisions?

Sadly, the answer is no.

Why? Mostly because of 2016.

First it was 2008 and now it’s 2016. Hillary Clinton and Co. will literally do and say anything to get elected. Any legitimate barrier in their way will be mercilessly bulldozed, regardless if it has validity or reasons for further scrutiny and transparency. In the macro, anyone willing to do and say anything to be president shouldn’t be president. When the rules don’t apply to you and when seemingly every decision you make is wrong (see her time as secretary of state), appears political and is shockingly disingenuous, that’s when it becomes crystal clear that any pursuit at top public leadership positions have little to do with the people you would be serving, but selfishly only with yourself.

It’s the difference between integrity and duplicity.

Hillary Clinton recently said to a crowd, “Don’t you want to see a woman president?”

Yes, but not you.

A Calm Reflection Amongst Chaos

A Thought to Ponder:

Isn’t it ironic that the very institution that is asking and demanding an enormous amount of trust from us (the people) is the exact same institution that is causing an enormous amount of distrust with us (the people) with seemingly daily revelations of targeted prejudice, secrecy, lack of transparency, lack of explanation, lack of personal responsibility and overwhelming incompetence?

Perhaps the reason why “big government” needs to be so vast is so all the bad ideas have the space and opportunity to collectively introduce themselves and become best friends forever (“BFF”). Plus, it provides ample time to disappear from a crisis for seven hours or to sail on a yacht during a military coup or to go golfing in the midst of anything important.

I’d venture to say today’s federal government and its leaders make former “BFF’s” Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie look like responsible Church Choir Girls.

Even with all their hijinks, at least Paris and Nicole were candid about who they were, what they were going to do and what they did…