Last Saturday’s MLS match pitting Real Salt Lake against the New England Revolution ended in a 0-0 draw. The score meanwhile for a drama that unfolded on the sidelines in recent days between the RSL club and a sportswriter for the Salt Lake Tribune is now final as well and amounts to, essentially, 1-1.
It started with RSL banning Salt Lake Tribune sportswriter Gordon Monson from their facility prior to the July 16 game and revoking the reporter’s media credentials. The formal announcement by the club of their decision was titled “A Statement From Real Salt Lake” and contained some unusual language:
The issue arises due to the conflicts of interest and personal agendas of one columnist—one who not only draws a paycheck from a competing professional team in the marketplace, but also hosts a daily radio show with a close relative of the former owner …
At our meeting last November, The Tribune believed their employee to be beyond reproach, while to RSL, the conflict of interest is clear and indisputable.
The move prompted Monson’s paper to pull from the game site, in solidarity, RSL beat writer Chris Kamrani and photographer Francisco Kjolseth, and publish a note to readers the same day:
RSL chief business officer Andrew Carroll informed The Tribune on Friday that RSL was denying Monson access to cover the contest and future home games, citing continued unhappiness with the writer over a pair of columns he wrote last season that were critical of RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen.
Monson was issued a season credential by RSL to cover the team this season. He attended the team’s 2016 home opener and wrote a column off it. Carroll said Monson should not have been credentialed for that game either, citing an “internal” mistake in the credentialing process.
Following this unusual episode, during which a major metropolitan newspaper covered a sports team’s home game via TV broadcast, things were back to normal Tuesday night for a friendly game vs. Inter Milan. Per a much shorter announcement by RSL, Monson has been reinstated. RSL play their home games at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.
On the radio show in question, Monson works with Spencer Checketts, the son of former RSL owner David Checketts. The Guardian, in an op-ed about the the matter, agreed on one level with RSL, suggesting this makes Monson a ‘less than objective observer.’
Previously on FishbowlNY:
MLS Puts New York Times in the Penalty
Top image via: rsl.com