Remember Colorado Rapids President Tim Hinchey? Sure you do. When he unloaded on blogger Jason Maxwell back in March, he said this:
If you make personal attacks and criticize me or staff in an ignorant fashion than simply expect my direct response. I choose not to do this to embarrass you publicly. Whereas that's how you chose to communicate your points, which is your right. As evidenced over my entire tenure, I rarely feel compelled to seek out our fan bloggers in any challenging way. However your comments where totally ridicuolus. Your email response asking and suggesting whether "I realize" we need a coach is offensive. I have worked in professional sports for over 20 years and I doubt I would be in my current position if I was so clueless.
This was back in March, and soon after Hinchey hired Pablo Mastroeni. Now it is mid-October, and the high hopes have spring has led to the summer of disappointment and the autumn of finding someone to blame.
Chris Bianchi had a candidate:
Bianchi, a private citizen with no connection with the Colorado Rapids, was surprised to hear from Tim Hinchey, because....oh, wait, no, Bianchi was the Rapids beat reporter for Major League Soccer Soccer. Note the tense, because, as you might or might not have read on Deadspin, Hinchey went thermonuclear, Bianchi was less than forthcoming with apologies, and now perhaps you could be the Colorado beat reporter for the league site.
My first reaction was, behold what happens when one crosses the bosses. But then Trevor Hayward of Soccer Morning reminded us of this:
Hinchey, Abbott, and Nick Firchau have a pretty clear out: had Bianchi tried to write "Rapids FO Rots From The Head First," his editors probably would have stopped it. Editorial and writer independence are two very different things, after all.
We can debate whether reporters should have freedom of speech on Twitter, but Bianchi's Twitter handle was "Rapids_News," after all.
Put yourself in Hinchey's shoes. You're the team president, and the league site's official reporter has publicly blamed you for this disastrous season. "Just do nothing and deal with it"? Wouldn't that just get the rumor mills firing.
Of course, mostly by virtue of the team being absolutely terrible, but partly by virtue of Hinchey being so incredibly quick to deflect blame, the rumors are flying anyway. There are only a few other heads that blame could be placed upon, maybe not more than one. And since Hinchey hired the other primary eligible scapegoat, and made such a mess of hiring said scapegoat, well, I can see why he felt someone put a thumbtack on his hotseat.
If you ask me - and really, who hasn't? - the best course of action would be for someone to quietly clarify what is meant by editorial independence. The second best course of action might be for us to get real. The Nutty Football League has an online newswire, and, unsurprisingly, it is bereft of editorials calling for Roger Goodell to be awarded the Order of the Pink Slip. It's not fair to ask any league's website to trash its owners. It's not fair to ask any website to trash its owner, come to think of it. How many Pepsi ads do you see on the Coke site? If we're going to hold Major League Soccer Soccer to standards no one should be expected to live up to, then we're going to be disappointed, no matter what Mark Abbott said in the past.
As for Bianchi, he can probably ask for his old job back once Hinchey is fired. Hinchey has a boss, too, and he must have noticed by now that oh, wait, it's Stan Kroenke.
You know what, Bianchi should simply ask for Hinchey's job, and Hinchey can cover the Rapids and blame Bianchi for everything that goes wrong. A whole season of Freaky Friday can't be any worse than what the Rapids are actually doing.