Down in Austin Texas there's a guy named Richard Soldana who owns and runs a PR firm which specializes in marketing to the Mexican American and minority communities.
So naturally when the "lie firm" of Garber, Precourt & Greeley went looking for someone willing to pimp out Austins' Hispanic community for cold hard cash, Soldana was their man.
This is at least partly because, as we all know, Don Garber has a long-cherished fantasy that fielding a random group of men running around in short pants will cause Mexican-American soccer fans to swoon with joy, and 20 years of evidence to the contrary - including one folded team - has not served to dampen his faith one bit.
So when you're looking to gin up some support with the locals in Central Texas, what could be more natural than waving the "worlds' game" flag around a bit? Ole, ya'll.
(Soldanas' firm is of course in addition to MLS' other - apparently "non-Mexican" - PR firm, plus the five member lobbying team, plus the big name real estate development lawyer and some clown named Kit McConnagle who seems to be a local sports icon but mostly seems desperate for actual paying work. More on all that in a bit.)
From the very beginning of the MLS/PSV full-court-press charm offensive aimed at prying loose 20 or so acres of prime downtown Austin City Park land (at no charge, of course) for Frat Tonys' playhouse, one constant theme repeated over and over by their unbelievably creepy man-on-the-ground Dave Greeley has been to the effect that PSV loves them some Hispanics. Every time Greeley speaks he makes a special point of telling everyone that the team is particularly interested in "Hispanic outreach" and that the "Hispanic community" is a critical component in all their planning.
So as Soldana (yes I know there's supposed to be a damned tilde over the "n", I just don't know how to make one), in return for a nice fat check, is squiring Greeley around Austin (and I do hope he remembers to have the car interior fumigated afterwards), to break bread with all the Mexican-American movers-and-shakers down in ATX, you can be certain that "we love and respect you brown folks" is high up on his list of bullet points.
As when he meets up with the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce (that's Soldana on the left)
and the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GAHCC) Board of Directors
and the United States Hispanic Contractors Association (USHCA) Board of Directors
In between buying them food and booze and handing out free scarves - and I will bet anyone anything they'd like that PSV/MLS has already spent more on genuine Adidas/MLS licensed free scarves than they spent in all of 2017 marketing the Columbus Crew) you can be sure that Dave, Tony and Don's respect and unbounded love for the Hispanic community is topic #1.
And it's a cynical, racist, baldfaced lie.
When FratTony bought the Columbus Crew from Clark Hunt in 2013, the team had in place an extensive and highly effective Hispanic outreach program.
Under then-President Mark McCullers and Hunt Sports, who both took the whole thing very seriously in terms of resources and emphasis, the Crew worked tirelessly at making the Hispanic community feel welcome in Crew Stadium.
In addition to the more-or-less standard "Hispanic Heritage Night" games, they hired a full-time Hispanic Outreach coordinator, as well as someone who generated Spanish language content on the teams' official website. All in-stadium PA announcements were made in both English and Spanish. There was a loud and very active supporters group "La Turbina Amarilla" whose drums and horns, located smack in the middle of the Nordecke, gave the whole stadium a heartbeat. (I'm particularly partial because my kid used to wander over into La Turbinas' section and they'd let him pound a drum sometimes. What a treat.)
Less than two years after PSV, under President Dave Greely, took over team operations, it was all gone.
No more Hispanic Recognition night. No more Spanish language game reports. Spanish ceased to be heard over the stadium PA system. Spanish language advertising was terminated. The Crew Hispanic Coordinator position was vacated.
The final insult for the Hispanic fan community was when, in the 2015 playoffs, the team refused to sell La Turbina their traditional seats in the Nordecke. They were simply told no, without explanation. They were, however, offered alternate seats in opposite end of the stadium. Where visiting fans are seated.
They rightly told Crew management to go ******** themselves. They had worked hard, earned respect and they weren't about to accept insults in return. A decade's work gone in a flash, at the direction of Dave Greeley.
Someone asked team President Andy Loughnane, who gives new meaning to the term crapweasel, why the Crew stopped literally all marketing aimed directly at the Hispanic community. He replied that now Crew marketing (until, that is, they stopped all local advertising a year ago) is aimed at "everybody".
Which, as I understand it, is not exactly how marketing to minorities works. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Many, many people - the Crew's previously intensely loyal Hispanic fan base among them - feel that this is an example of racism, straight up, hold the ice and the slice of lime.
I'm no expert on that kind of thing and I try very hard not to go there unless we're talking about Grant Wahl making jokes about black people eating fried chicken. That one seems like a no-brainer.
Likewise, I have no reason to believe that Mr. Soldana is working with Greeley in anything other than good faith, unaware of the kind of folks he has cast his lot with.
To me, this is simply a case of the "business metrics" that Don Garber prattles on about like a six year old on Ritalin: his cynical sockpuppets at PSV - Precourt and Greeley - identified a vulnerable fan group that they could easily alienate, offend and chase off as part of the overall scheme to drive down attendance without causing too much commotion. It could have been Armenians or Fiji Islanders. All that mattered was that they could be isolated without repercussions, because those could only come from MLS and Garber has their back.
Whether that's racist or simply morally reprehensible I'll leave to you. I can only add that the smiling folks in those pictures are fortunate that they live in Austin, where Dave Greeley makes their restaurant table groan with free food, drinks and swag.
If they lived in Columbus, Ohio, that guy they're happily posing with would be refusing to sell them seats because of the color of their skin.
To have Precourt lackey Dave "Wormtongue" Greeley running around Austin passing out free scarves and buying drinks for local Hispanic business leaders while telling them all about how his bosses love, honor and respect Hispanic fans is nothing short of utterly, stunningly, unbelievably offensive to almost anyone with any kind of moral compass.
Which leaves Don Garber in the clear.