LAFC's stoppage-time winner against Sporting Kansas City and Colorado's thrilling 3-3 draw in the snow against Portland should have stolen most of the headlines this weekend as ​Major League Soccer kicked off its 24th season. 


Instead, the new campaign began with a dark cloud hanging over New York City, home to the league's headquarters and one of its highest-profile teams.


Specifically, a dark cloud of violent ideological extremism that has been allowed to metastasize within certain elements of the supporter culture around New York City FC, as reported in stories recently published in The Athletic and The Huffington Post.

I am a season ticket holder for NYCFC and covered the team for the first 3.5 years of its existence dating back to 2014, and in full disclosure, I'm acquainted with the authors of the aforementioned reports. 


But, I'm not here to say even one damn word about the problems that have arisen in New York that the franchise has utterly refused to address head-on.


No, I'm here to rake MLS Commissioner Don Garber over the coals for what he said Sunday in reference to this freaking fascist powder keg.

Wow. He did the "fine people on both sides" thing. He really did it.


Devotees will note that Garber, who has been MLS Commissioner since 1999, was previously a Senior Vice President for the ​NFL. Given the demographics of gridiron football fandom -- it's a violent game that appeals to our basest and most feverishly warlike desires, so do the math -- Garber would seem to be the kind of guy to be extra-careful about alienating any meaningful portion of the consumer base. 


But, how hard is it to denounce actual fascists, Don?

How hard is it to denounce white supremacy, antisemitism, LGBT-phobia, Islamophobia, and general tribalistic violence, Don? This is the kind of sneeringly cynical both-sides-ism that permits the cancer to spread.


Consider the precedent set: Don Garber has no problem with permitting the pro-genocide set to enter MLS stadiums as long as they don't attack anyone while inside. (Bloodshed on the streets of Manhattan, say, would be permitted? Is that It?)


If this is an unfair framing of his statement to Jonathan Tannenwald, he's free to clarify otherwise as part of a full-throated denunciation of violent extremism.

As an unapologetic MLS fan who wants to see ​the league continue to enhance its footprint, I'm pretty demoralized about the fact that I even felt the need to write this. Infighting among fans is rarely productive; the buck has to stop with the franchises themselves. And if we're living in a world in which Seattle Sounders fans can be kicked out of Vancouver's BC Place and even threatened with arrest ***for displaying an anti-racism banner,*** Don Garber and the MLS owners he speaks for can drop the hammer on hate before waiting to see bloodshed in the stands first.


They simply won't. And that's more than enough evidence to suggest that "The Soccer Don" needs to go.


The NFL, given the extent of its inner rot, would surely welcome him back with open arms.


Sam Dunn is a U.S. sports editor at 12up. The opinions expressed in this article are his own and not necessarily those of 12up or its parent company. He can be harassed on Twitter @RealFakeSamDunn.


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