5 Reasons why I am disappointed in RSL

Gordon Monson SL Trib Columnist on Trib Talk Copyright SL Tribune

I have 5 reasons why I’m disappointed in RSL. In my humble opinion I suppose these 5 reasons also deal with what has been going on in social media and the demonetization of the press and it’s coverage of events.  While I have disagreed with the opinions of one Gordon Monson, the thought of pulling his credentials hasn’t even been in my mind. It shouldn’t if you’re a serious sports entity, believing that your way is the best way to run that franchise.

If you’re a franchise owner, you basically have three groups you need to satisfy. The fans, the league and the employees.  If you have good vision, and great communication then you can sell your message to those three groups pretty quickly, and they’ll even have your back. So, here are the reasons why I am disappointed in the RSL:

5. Public Relations 101:

When negative press comes your way you have two choices. Acknowledge it and deal with it straight on and confront your detractors, by selling your vision of why your organization is taking a particular tactic. Or, you ignore it.

When you ignore it, you continue to produce content via paid or press conferences. You use that pulpit to send your message of how you see the world with out mentioning the negative writer, press or controversy.

Any PR firm or crisis management team will tell you that the actions of RSL, when they pulled the credentials of Gordon Monson, was at best amateur. Sure, you ‘can’ do it.  The question is, should you?  You just validated in some way that the writer has gotten under your skin and it made an impact on how you view the world.  If you’d just dismissed it and continued to sell your vision of RSL, communicating a clear and decisive path, this wouldn’t look like what it is. Vindictive.

4. Conflict of Interest?

Copyright RSL
Copyright RSL

Come on RSL! Andrew Carroll (RSL Chief Business Officer) through the Salt Lake Tribune cited that Gordon Monson had a conflict of interest because he co-hosts a show with the son of the Former RSL owner (and founder) David Checketts. Really? Some how, this son of Checketts who has been, for what I can surmise, a staunch supporter of RSL Soccer has corrupted Monson to write controversial and mean things about the franchise?

When Monson, 1280 the Zone and the Utah Jazz came together – they held a press conference. In this press conference they dealt with some fundamental concepts of what Gordon’s role would be in the new station and partnership with the SL Trib.  The Trib and Monson wanted it clear that if there was an article about the Jazz that was critical, they would have the ability to write this piece and it would have no repercussions on his role as a co-host of an evening drive time radio show.

This was important when 1280 became the flagship station of the Utah Jazz. The Jazz knew it was essential to keep objectivity in the market. Too often flagship stations get branded as parts of the mother ship and eventually lose their independent feel and touch. It was important to the Jazz and the Tribune that this voice not be lost.

Monson has been working as a sports columnist for 37 years and has been producing these type of critical pieces for as long as I’ve been reading the Tribune.

So, David James is a broadcaster that does play by play for the RSL broadcasts. Just how far is Gordon Monson’s reach of influence? Could he corrupt James? Come on RSL.

3. Blow-Back

In response to the RSL decision, Salt Lake Tribute “The Watch Dog” announced that it will be scaling back their coverage of the team. It will no longer cover the team and its events more than would be afforded to another non-credentialed outlet.

That means no photography, that means no home court advantage to show the pageantry and enthusiasm that fans hold for their team, the RIOT and the product on the field on a first hand basis.

When your sport is at best 4th in popularity in the United States and you choose to control the media access to a large contingency of fans who get their news from the Tribune daily, is this really the best move?

There have been other attempts by sports to control coverage. The UFC made rash decisions in revoking credentials of a website called MMAFighting.com.  Later the UFC relented, changed their position and chose to credential the website saying the decision was wrong in the first place.

The Summer Olympics are coming up in August. You have a chance to again capitalize on the world turning its attention to Soccer and the benefits to your organization. You choose to turn off an avenue to further your franchises brand and dictate how your fans get their news about their team? You need the free media covering your event, more than the free media needs you. Let’s face it, your not the NBA nor the NFL for that matter.

Seems like RSL’s decision should quickly resemble the UFC’s or they may suffer a fate worse than being wrong in the public opinion. Apathy.

2. Fans

Copyright XanGo, RSL via PRWeb.com
Copyright XanGo, RSL via PRWeb.com

I am disappointed in the RSL fans that are supporting the club and its decision.

I am disappointed in the RLS fans that don’t think their club, a professional team, can stand tall and proud while being covered by journalists who disagree with the company line of propaganda.

I am disappointed in RSL fans who don’t think having journalists, columnists, supporters, antagonists in the press box is a good thing.  I mean think about it, how do you know that the organization isn’t being led by some crazy person who wants to run RSL into the ground? Investigation and oversight are all good things. It’s how we know that violations are not occurring, laws are not being broken and that fundamentally the public’s trust is well founded.

I reaffirm, I do not agree with Gordon Monson on all things. However I know one thing – if you don’t like his work as a consumer, the quickest way to shut him up is to turn off the radio and not read his work. However, I would think as an American you would stand for the idea that we have a free press and sometimes in a free society we have to tolerate people who have views that differ from our own – even if it makes your blood boil.

1. Freedom of the Press

It’s my opinion that almost everyone has forgotten what the role of the press is in our society.  I realize sometimes it’s easy to forget when multi-billion dollar companies like Disney also own news organizations and the entire enterprise seems focused on selling the “LeBron James” story or some other corporate supported initiative. It can desensitize us into thinking that this is how the new version of what objective reporting looks like.

I hearken back to the days of Walter Cronkite, when he said on the news, that the Vietnam war could not be won. It was controversial for sure to have a news anchor make a political and anti-military comment to the American public. However, that was what Cronkite was supposed to do – deliver the news. Of course some of it was commentary and some was his opinion. However, America trusted Cronkite and that’s where America tuned in to each night to get their news.

Today we have so many different outlets to get our news from. We, as consumers can determine what type of cell phone we buy or what company we get our service from. We have hundreds of news outlets on line, on the air and in print. We truly do have the choice to support voices we never had access to in Cronkite’s era.

It also seems to me that the RSL fanbase is an educated and liberal one (for the most part), accepting of more than one way of thinking about an issue. I see tifo’s that celebrate ‘love everyone’, gay marriage, tragedy, to just accepting everyone in the human race – and that is a very good thing. In fact, it’s the reason why I think RSL and MLS have a chance to stay relevant.

You have a chance at relevancy as long as you allow those who have a differing opinions to have access. To allow those journalists to write articles about why Jason Kreis, Garth Lagerway and Bill Manning left RSL, even if you don’t agree. Fan’s you should be demanding that more coverage is being paid to issues like this, not less.

You should celebrate that you are getting this type of attention from the press, because that means you are relevant. Ten years ago you would have sold your first born to get coverage, and now you feel so pungent that this type of coverage is beneath you?


Image ‘Copyleft’ by Copyright Carlos Latuff
Image ‘Copyleft’ by Copyright Carlos Latuff

My point is, in a free society you do not get to dictate where the press goes for a story. It is like water on pavement, as it will find every nook and crevasse that it wants. This is what free press does. Even if you find it to be tabloid journalism, even if you disagree with the journalist.  When we start to dictate what people can write, or believe in we start to tear at the fabric of what it means to be an American.

And you are not anti-American are you?  You’ll have to decide that for yourself. I for one voice my disappointment in RSL and its fans that support this style of control.

About the author

Brian Child

Brian Child is a life-long BYU fan and general sports freak based out of Salt Lake City. Currently, he writes about BYU Athletics and commentary regarding BYU. Brian is a Podcast Veteran in the State of Utah. Currently, the BYU Sports Cave broadcasts its signal here on the Torn By Sports Network.

  • S Terry

    Absoultly, right on target. I am a huge RSL fan, but as a fan I am also frustrated with the performance and direction our franchise is moving, inccuding this recent bush league move. This act of revenge looks like a kid in Jr High upset he was called out for something he did and has no other defense. What is the addage, “there is no such thing as bad publicity”. Grow up. Its your job to address the comments and fix the problems, not bury them behind smoke and mirrors. Worry about the franchise, not some reporter calling you out on your failures.

    • BYUSportsCave

      It was good to see that Monson was re-instated. Thank you for your comment!

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