Philly Sports Live

From the PSL Soccer Desk: Chicken

I’m getting tired of being outraged.  I’m tired of being upset by match fixing, by FIFA corruption, by petro-teams, by regressive Inquirer editorials and questionable lineups and work and politics and traffic…I’m just tired of it.

All this is by way of saying that at the moment, it would take quite a bit to get me worked up, certainly quite a bit to get me to actually write about it.  Then I got an email from the Philadelphia Union, advertising their new Chick-Fil-A Four Pack.

I’d like to explain in great detail Chick-Fil-A’s position on social issues, specifically regarding social justice and gay marriage, but that’s been covered in exhaustive detail everywhere from the BBC to Gawker.

I’d like to point out the sheer tone-deafness signaled by the Union Front office announcing this promotion literally a day after the Sons of Ben were praised by USA Today for their tifo in support of Robbie Rogers, the former Columbus Crew and US Men’s National Team player who was an MLS Cup Winner and an Olympian, but still afraid to be himself and a professional athlete at the same time.

I’d like to praise the Union for allowing their relationship with the Boy Scouts of America to expire over similar objection to the organization’s social stance, regardless of the innumerable good things local troops and leaders do for their community, and how MLS’ decision, along with that of countless other businesses, made progress in getting that organization to change its stance.

I’d like to raise the point that while the Union’s marketers had the time to put together a ticket package, brand it with the Chick-Fila-A name and logo, they still haven’t announced the Gay-pride night they promised after the announcement of a Chick-Fil-A “Family Night” was greeted with grumbling by segments of the fan base.

I’d like to be balanced, and remind people that as much as we’d like them to be held as a public trust, as much as we pour our hearts and souls into them, sports franchises are businesses, just like chicken franchises, and in many ways the Union have more in common with chicken than with us.

I’d like to use every bit of my writing ability, whatever the reader may think of it, to convey my anger about how a team I genuinely want to admire could lead the way in promoting acceptance, rather than following behind clubs like DC United, the first MLS side to do an “It Gets Better” video. I’d like to use imagery, and talk about how just like MLS transformed a tiny piece of land in Chester, the team could use their influence to transform a tiny bit of our social discourse.

I’d like to come up with some sort of pithy catchphrase  like “Watch Moar Soker.”  I’d like to rouse rabble and get the pitchforks and torches out, but to be honest, I’m just too sick and tired of it.

This is business and  politics, the two worst parts of sport, and for my own sanity I should probably ignore it and focus on what’s happening on the field.  I’m sure that’s what the league and the Union’s Front Office would like.  I’d like to conserve my energy and let it go.  In this case, however, I can’t.

My best friend is a lesbian.  And while that is entirely incidental to my own life, it is part of who she is and I love her not in spite of it, and not because of it, but simply because of who she is. I’d like to be able to walk up to PPL with her, and not be faced with advertising for a company that stands for a philosophy that says she is less than anyone else.  I’d like to be proud of my team, the team representing my city, when I talk to her about it.  But I can’t.

So barring that, I’d like the Union Front Office to explain why.  I’m not holding my breath though.  We’re dealing with chicken.