LFCNY Interview: Steven Cohen Soon to be Outfoxed?

Let's lead with news, or at least weather. I had a couple of questions about the Steven Cohen boycott, so I e-mailed Conor Brennan, VP of LFCNY, the front man on the topic.

1. > Now that the club itself has weighed in, how has that changed the
outlook? It's one thing for the NYT and NPR to do throwaway stories on the
topic, but this takes it to a new level.

Liverpool weighing in is part of our strategy; usually the club hands all
Hillsborough-related stuff off to the families. This might be one of the
first times that the club has commented on a Hillsborough related topic
outside of the anniversaries. Worryingly for Cohen, Liverpool's statement
represents a significant benchmark in our campaign. We knew we had to
raise awareness of his vile utterings in the UK, Liverpool in particular,
and now that one of the biggest clubs in the world has commented, this
story is arousing huge interest in the UK. We have people monitoring
Google and searches around this subject from the UK have exploded this
week.

NPR and The Times were part of successful lobbying on our part also and we
are quite proud that a soccer story not related to the USMNT went
national.

National in the US, then export it to the UK was our strategy and we are
happy with this success. The UK part is only just rolling out. More to
come.

2. > How have Cohen's remaining sponsors been reacting? I read that
Ruffnex feels they're locked into a long-term contract, but what about the
others?

Some of them are talking to us, others have changed email addresses.
Definitely, some are taking the ostrich approach, hoping when they take
their heads out of the sand, the storm will have passed. Maybe that will
be the case, but we may not forget so quickly.

3. > What about Sirius and Fox Soccer Channel?

These are two very different animals. Cohen owns the show he does on
Sirius/XM, WSD; we understand he's a contractor on Fox. We have been in
contact with Fox and we have reason to believe he is gone. Also here: the
last 10 seconds. Is he gone?

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vACc1HtklDI"]YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.[/ame]

Sirius is a different story; his show has had its ad space filled by the
generic Sirius ads (Motel 6, etc.) How long they will cover the shortfall
that this boycott is costing him, we don't know.

4. > Have Celtic supporters groups officially joined the boycott? Do you
have a link for those? I haven't found any on Google.

Good point. Mel Abisher, the spokesman for the North American Branches
spoke with Celtic and sent out emails, but I'm not sure where it went up,
except the LFCNY did refer to it in a statement. Scroll down on
http://www.lfcny.org/

> Was Cohen really supposed to donate 1,000 pounds to the HJF, then
reneged?

First I've heard of anything positive coming from Steve Cohen regarding
Hillsborough. Never heard that before. He did donate that £1,000, right?

{EDIT - yeah, doesn't that sound weird? I didn't make it up, but I did read it anonymously on the 'net, so, perhaps it's nonsense. -D.}

> 5. I'm surprised more people haven't gone after Cohen for calling them
hideous names on the 2/22/09 broadcast.

We are happy to use that as a rallying card. This clip is eliciting huge
outrage in the UK.

>6. I can't imagine that even an apology that read like a legitimate
apology would be accepted at this point - but, strictly in PR terms, what
if he does? I mean, assume one is written for it, he posts it, and then
doesn't spend the next few days hectoring Mel Abshier.

The position of the LFCNY is that we have no further interest in anything
Steve Cohen has to say. We want him gone off the air. Gone from Fox, gone
from Sirius/XM. Gone. With no further opportunities to spew hated and lies
against the 96, Hillsborough and Liverpool fans. The soccer community is
small enough in the USA without a hate merchant like Steve Cohen dividing
it and ruining its growth. He trades on pain and hate for notoriety and
ratings and is tarnishing the community; serious investors/advertisers
will walk away when they see someone like Cohen spewing the hate he does.

There would have been mitigation had this been Cohen's first walk on the
dark side; but as we all know it's not. Cohen is a past master of hate
talk and has apologised before. Or rather was forced to apologise before
and then offered a qualified apology. If you were offended. And then went
back to doing exactly what he does - hate and lies. Steve Cohen has cried
wolf too often. He can make all the apologies he wishes, the position of
the LFCNY is that the boycott campaign against Steve Cohen does not end
until he is gone off the air.

__________________________

Thanks, Conor.

First, here are the stupid or misleading things I said in the podcast that I'd like to clarify.

Number one, I said "How else are people who are offended supposed to express their opinion?" That was an unbelievably stupid and badly-phrased rhetorical question, and I knew it as soon as I said it. The answer is, obviously, "Don't listen." The rhetorical question I should have asked is, "How else, given that people feel Cohen is doing damage to the quest for justice, can people prevent further damage from being done?"

I also said that Cohen insulted the Hillsborough survivors' families. Well, yeah, he did, but what I was actually groping for was the actual name of the official group he referenced in this rant from February:

What both he and I were referring to was the Hillsborough Justice Group.

http://www.youtube.com/user/96friend

....and y'know what, I'm gonna take a little longer on this, let it breathe, let some more news happen, let me FINALLY dig up my copy of "Fever Pitch" which puts Heysel and Hillsborough into a context I find convincing....

...but as far as why this is an issue. Hey, maybe it isn't for you, and happy trails to you. Me, I'm also a dude using my real name to spout off in public about soccer - how is this not in my wheelhouse? I've said things that I can't be surprised if someone wants to boycott me over. And there's certainly a group of fans I have a cherished and ingrained prejudice against - the quickest way to get on my ignore list is to have "Supports Chivas USA" on your profile. The only thing I want to read from a Chivas USA fan is a suicide note.

So I think I've got a responsibility to either support Cohen in his time of trial - or join the torch-waving mob against him. Your mileage may vary. This isn't the first time I've written something that most of you don't give a crap about.

But, as you could tell from the podcast today, there's nothing about this that I don't find enchantingly terrible. And I mean everything. I don't like how Kartik Krishnaiyer hung Christopher Harris out to dry, even. The very idea of a fake apology is abhorrent to me, which is why I make so few of them myself. I was completely unaware of the person who now currently Sancho Panzas for him on WSD, and in my opinion that person's behavior has been at least as odious as Cohen's - and for less reason! Who the hell goes to the damn wall for the sake of being American soccer's Ed McMahon for one more day? Christ!

And so the exclamation points start. I need to compose myself before I -

Oh, and the blithering about the First Amendment! Christ on a leaky sailboat! We need a ********ing Taylor Report in this country on how THAT damn thing actually works. The SECOND Amendment, okay, you could see where you could come up with differing interpretations, but the idea of consequence-free speech actually TAKES AWAY voices from people who aren't backed by some interest or other....

And all boycotts are fair! All of them! Same reason, First Amendment! Elmo's World told me today that dinosaurs lived 150 million years ago. Do young-earth creationist dipsticks have the right to boycott Sesame Street? Yes! Absolutely! If it goes off the air because there are that many dipsticks in this nation? That's better than putting on "Young Earth Creationist Sesame Street", isn't it?

Jeez. Exclamation points, all caps, and Elmo....so yeah, I'll take a day or so, and really work myself into a lather.

Until then, those of you who disagree with the boycott have an outlet, perhaps the most potent weapon of all...an Internet petition.

...and even THAT, I want to rant about! What's the earthly freaking point of signing an Internet petition, "NAME WITHHELD"? That hasn't even got the dignity of "Hugh Jass" or "Rupert Murdoch" or "Dwayne DeBathtub"! If you're going to sign this, and not put anything, how is anyone supposed to think it wasn't Cohen himself padding the petition?

Wow...did I discover an inherent flaw in online petitions? I just blew my mind.