News: U.S. Soccer Federation’s Struggles Deepen

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by sXeWesley, Dec 5, 2019.

  1. sXeWesley

    sXeWesley Member+

    Jun 18, 2007
    Club:
    Portland Timbers
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Tab Ramos everyone; American Hero.

    WSJ: USSF Struggles Deepen

    Buethe (USSF spokesperson) said there were no conflicts of interest in having brothers serving in two of the federation’s highest-ranking positions because Jay Berhalter has nothing to do with the technical department.

    But Jay Berhalter has played a broader role behind the scenes than his job title suggests, according to Tab Ramos, a prominent former U.S. men’s national team player who left U.S. Soccer in October to become head coach of Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo.

    Ramos, who coached U.S. Soccer’s Under-20 men’s national team to unprecedented success, said that Jay Berhalter often waded into matters of soccer staffing.

    “For anyone who’s worked at U.S. Soccer the last four or five years, it was clear that the technical message was coming from Jay Berhalter,” Ramos said.


    At a meeting about three years ago in Chicago, Ramos recalled, he said he wanted to establish a goalkeeping program for the youth national teams, which Ramos oversaw as youth technical director. Berhalter pushed back, he said.

    “He said, ‘Why would we need a goalkeeping program more than a forwards program?’” Ramos said. “I was really surprised that someone that doesn’t have the technical knowledge could be involved in the decision-making of technical people.”


    Also who is this freaking guy, U.S. Soccer spokesman Neil Buethe and why is the federation wasting money on a spokesperson, when people like Cordeiro, Jay, Earnie and all the execs have nothing but time on their hands to speak for themselves?

    Fire all these useless twats, hire a few competent executives from outside, take the money that would save from their bloated salaries and throw it all at a truly competent coach.
     
  2. Jazzy Altidore

    Jazzy Altidore Member+

    Sep 2, 2009
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Tab coming out swinging. Good for him.
     
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  3. GiallorossiYank

    GiallorossiYank Member+

    Jan 20, 2011
    NJ/Roma/Napoli
    Club:
    AS Roma
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I literally hate that Soccer House.
     
  4. AutoPenalti

    AutoPenalti Am I famous yet?

    Sep 26, 2011
    Coconut Creek
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Ramos the whistleblower, just the guy we needed.

    Sadly, no other news outlets care much about this for there to be any change.
     
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  5. GiallorossiYank

    GiallorossiYank Member+

    Jan 20, 2011
    NJ/Roma/Napoli
    Club:
    AS Roma
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I've said it once, I'll say it again.

    American Outlaws. Only org that can do ANYTHING about this. Tag them on twitter, on FB. Anything.
     
  6. TOAzer

    TOAzer Member+

    The Man With No Club
    May 29, 2016
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The first time Boston had The Brothers Bulger, the second time Chicago House has The Brothers Berhalter. The first was a tragedy, the second is a farce. But, each in its own way, is a testament to the destructive power of greed and stupidity.
     
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  7. soccersubjectively

    soccersubjectively BigSoccer Supporter

    Jan 17, 2012
    Dallas
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This level of unawareness by Berhalter is amazing.

    "Why don't we do something that is the international standard?"
    "Well why don't we do something that ISN'T the international standard? Haha jk we'll do neither and call it even!"
     
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  8. Baysider

    Baysider Member+

    Jul 16, 2004
    Santa Monica
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    I have my problems with the USSF, but I'm not sure this is one of them. This was pre-Earnie and so there was probably a common budget for the various functions. Money spent on a goalkeeper program is money not spent on something else. Given that forwards seem to be our weakest position, and (historically anyway) goalkeepers our strongest, might not the greatest value for the dollar be spending on forwards?

    I think there's a reasonable reply to that, and I'm happy to spend money on goalkeepers, but it's not an unreasonable question. My guess is that Ramos didn't say that he would spend less money on some other aspect of youth development and more on goalkeepers, rather he wanted to USSF to spend less on some other USSF function so he could spend more. Since this is allocating money across functions, you need a person higher than Ramos to approve. Who do you think that person would be?
     
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  9. thedukeofsoccer

    thedukeofsoccer Member+

    Jul 11, 2004
    Youtube: Jimmy Dore, Secular Talk
    Club:
    AFC Ajax
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Give them a budget for the positional program and let them spend it how they want. That's how a functional organization would work. Delegates responsibilties to those with more knowledge in the area. It takes scouting and deeper knowledge of the system to know what areas need greater attention.

    This report also establishes a pattern of behavior with Jay. We've heard from other insiders that Gregg was pre-selected heavily by Jay at the beginning of the coaching search. That's not surprising given they are brothers, Gregg's unqualified resume, and the lack of interviews. It's also further dysfunction they waited almost a year to make it official so we aren't getting into a serious evaluation process of the manager until we are almost into qualifying.

    There's suggestions USS should fire Jay. But who would do it, Cordeiro? He's part of the boy's club and Jay was one of the people who got him elected. So it's practically like asking him to fire himself. When you have an organization this corrupt, the best thing to do would be to leave it and start another one. Which would take the players' support, since that's who we're watching at the end of the day. It's not to watch Jay and Carlos push papers.
     
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  10. Baysider

    Baysider Member+

    Jul 16, 2004
    Santa Monica
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Did Ramos come in and say "let me spend more on goalkeepers and I'll spend less on something else". It could have been that way, but it doesn't sound like it. My guess (and yes, it's only a guess) is that Ramos asked for more money. So whichever position, it's still money from somewhere else. Then, it's the job of the senior person to ask questions. It's not that uncommon of a management technique. If the person can't answer questions about why this is the best use of the money, maybe there really is a problem. If Ramos asked more money for forwards instead, Berhalter should have asked why that would be the best use of the money.

    Did Berhalter intervene too much? I don't know. But this story doesn't tell us anything.

    But, in any case, we now have a technical director in Earnie that a youth technical director would report to. Maybe you don't like Earnie, but the USSF made the kind of change you wanted.
     
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  11. sXeWesley

    sXeWesley Member+

    Jun 18, 2007
    Club:
    Portland Timbers
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    What are you even talking about? Jay is dictating the technical side of operations, the soccer side, that is incontrovertible at this point. He is completely fing unqualified to meddle in any of that and moreover they have been lying about his meddling. This is absolutely not about him doing his job as an executive and "employing common management techniques", this is about a long established pattern of behavior doing a crap job at his actual job, whilst also doing a spectacularly terrible job doing other peoples jobs, that he is flatly unqualified for. Moreover, the results of this shit show are absolutely plain to see:

    This is a lie: Buethe said there were no conflicts of interest in having brothers serving in two of the federation’s highest-ranking positions because Jay Berhalter has nothing to do with the technical department.

    https://www.inquirer.com/soccer/gre...occer-carlos-cordeiro-dan-flynn-20181205.html


    Jay also has wielded considerable influence in the soccer operations side of the organization -- the technical side, to use the official term.

    Back in late 2015, when Jurgen Klinsmann’s tenure as U.S. coach and technical director started to hit the rocks, Berhalter reportedly took over some of Klinsmann’s technical director duties.

    This year, Berhalter was on the six-person committee that picked Earnie Stewart to be the men’s national team’s general manager. No on-the-record explanation was ever given for why a business-side executive was needed on a technical-side committee, though sources have said since then that it was to have a diversity of perspectives in the group.

    (That characterization was provided Wednesday morning by a U.S. Soccer spokesperson. It was noted to the Inquirer and Daily News that Berhalter did not recuse himself, he was kept out.)

    “Jay was involved earlier on, in the year, back in February, just after I got elected [president],” Cordeiro said. “He was then involved in some of our technical activities. He was involved with the selection of Earnie as general manager. That process, however, was run by Carlos Bocanegra. As chair, or co-chair [with Angela Hucles] of the technical development committee, he took responsibility for the GM search. Jay was one of five or six people in that process.”

    https://www.si.com/planet-futbol/20...soccer-jay-berhalter-jason-kreis-vieira-nycfc


    Over the past year, U.S. Soccer’s chief commercial director Jay Berhalter—the brother of Columbus Crew SC coach Gregg Berhalter—has started taking over a lot of the day-to-day technical director duties. Berhalter even called an important meeting in Chicago in August that did not include Klinsmann.

    As for his actual job, that he is allegedly qualified for:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/25/sports/us-soccer-berhalter.html

    The reviews read like pleas for help from inside a failing corporation. “A terrible and toxic place to work.” “A culture of fear and intimidation.” “Morale is at an all time low.”

    What the reviews suggest, is a behind-the-scenes revolt against the federation’s most powerful executives, notably its longtime chief executive, Dan Flynn, who plans to retire this summer, and his top deputy and potential successor, Jay Berhalter.

    But in their open disdain for Flynn and Berhalter, the employees also paint the portrait of an organization — one still emerging from a broad restructuring sparked by the humiliation of missing the 2018 World Cup — that is dominated by a small group of long-serving executives, and infected by dissatisfaction and mistrust.

    Several of the reviews directly blame Flynn, U.S. Soccer’s chief executive since 2000, and Berhalter, the federation’s top commercial officer, for a workplace climate in which employees’ arrivals and departures are monitored, 50- to 70-hour work weeks are expected and those with dissenting or unpopular opinions are reprimanded or marginalized.

    https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/U-S-Soccer-Federation-Reviews-E9884.htm

    • The board of directors should read these reviews before making a final decision on appointing the next CEO
    • Hopeful all these recent reviews are somehow getting back to the right people. Only reason it’s happening is because current and former employees know a new CEO is about to be selected and this is the only way to have a voice heard because they haven’t had a voice inside the office for years. We all know that if the next CEO comes from within (more specifically, the MNT head coach's brother), the toxic culture will never change. You have an opportunity here to change the culture at Soccer House 6-7 years ahead of 2026 where your CEO and staff will be put in the world (and the U.S.) spotlight stronger than ever before. Do the right thing. This hire could change the perception of USSF leadership to the entire soccer community. Prepare yourselves for a mass exodus after the Women's World Cup. Holding 2026 over their heads isn't working anymore. Staff need action now. Whats the over/under on lawsuits in 2020? Make a serious change, not an undeserved, nepotistic promotion.
    • The culture is downright terrible, which is very much driven by the tone at the top; the defacto CEO Jay Berhalter. He has zero (ZERO) people skills. His approach to managing is laughable, and your only chance to succeed is if you love and/or fear him and let it be known that you're submissive to his "brilliant" ideas. The company is caught in a time warp. There is absolutely no empowerment to the incredibly talented people who work there. The idea of work/life balance is frowned upon. Don't even think about working from home. Communication is terrible and there's a crippling bottleneck for work flow because employees are not allowed to make their own decisions. There are many, many more bad things to say about the organization (see other reviews) which is sad because it could be an amazing place to work. Sadly, nothing will change if this individual is given the (official) title of CEO.
    • I worked for the Federation for nearly four years. During my time there I wore many hats, working for USSF, NWSL, NWSL Media, COPA 2016, COPA Marketing Inc. While working simultaneously for all four organizations at a time I received only my USSF salary and company wide bonuses, which was nothing when considering the success of the organization, being located in Chicago, and job requirements, but I stuck it out being promised time and time again, "you'll get a good bonus", I received a small bonus for COPA, maybe 1% of what the CEO and COO received, and that was it, nothing for my other roles in the organization, not even recognition. I was one of many employees who wore many hats, and never saw any praise or compensation for going above and beyond our jobs. During that tournament one employee, who is a favorite of the CEO, received compensation from both entities and a hefty bonus, during that time their work was strictly focused on the tournament and the federation was forgotten. I understand that people do a lot of work behind the scenes, but this kind of favoritism has no place in the work place, if you weren't in with the COO you were an outcast, and do not expect to see any movement within the company or see any compensation for all the work you do. Coming in early, staying late, working weekends and holidays were expected if needed, but ask to leave the office before 5pm and your will forever be looked down upon by the CEO and COO as they hawk at the parking lot seeing who leaves when. After being there two years, we decided to do a company outing and break out into groups to see what will help the organization, after the groups met, one person was sent to present the groups decisions. Every single group stated that the lack of communication between departments is a problem, so clearly everyone was onto something, and feeling like something had been accomplished. The CEO then proceeded to take the stage and say something along the lines of, I'm sad to hear no one mentioned the NWSL league and its success, winning a world cup, oh, and the communication thing is bull****. Meeting deflated, everything that was productive shot down by the person we are supposed to follow behind. How do you follow someone who will not take opinions into consideration from his own staff.
    • The morale is so incredibly low that there aren't many people not looking for other jobs at the moment. The only people not looking for other jobs? The ones that are "in" with the self-appointed CEO, who've been hired because they are cut from the same cloth and willing to do whatever he wants. These people are virtually the only ones that will get raises, promotions, bonuses, etc. Travel is fun until you get back to back trips with a few days notice, expected to work 16+ hours days while on the road, and then no time off when you get home. The conflict between the old guard and the new employees is also a big issue. Just because you've done things a certain way for 20 years doesn't mean it's still the right way to do it. Managers/bosses are hit or miss. There are two types of managers at ussf: bad ones and good ones with "their hands tied". Even if you have one of the good managers, it is likely that the "CEO" doesn't like them and therefore won't approve any of their plans, budgets, requests, or ideas. All of this while sitting on a $150 million surplus and giving out ridiculous salaries and bonuses to executives according to their top 10 highest paid employees which is public information as a nonprofit.
    • Good ole boys system, if you aren't "in" you will be left behind or pushed out.
    • Bring in an outside CEO. Please, just stop it with the nepotism. There are still so many hard-working, talented people in the organization that deserve so much better than this. U.S. Soccer has so much potential to be a fantastic organization, but change needs to happen.
    • As many pros as I wrote it's sad to have to say that the cons greatly outweigh here: -The leadership is -180 degrees of innovative. - The place is crawling with troglodytic corporate exec decision makers. This is not mad men, it's the 21st century -Constantly being sued makes the glaring exec problem even more glaring.
    • Advice to Management: please go. You are bad. It's mostly a stroke of luck that you've come at a time where the nation's empowerment of women has manifested into legendary teams.
     
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  12. IndividualEleven

    Mar 16, 2006
    Ramos was the Men's Youth National Team Director. The wording of his comments indicate he expected to have the authority to make resource allocation decisions that were instead stopped by Jay Berhalter's intervention in an arena in which he had zero expertise.
     
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  13. xbhaskarx

    xbhaskarx Member+

    Feb 13, 2010
    NorCal
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Paul Kennedy on the WSJ story:





     
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  14. CMeszt

    CMeszt Member+

    Fire Crown 4 Life (or until they change it again)
    Jan 9, 2004
    Soldier Field Media Deck. First Row.
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union

    Good news!



    I got to see the inside of it this spring. It's honestly kind of a disaster in there. Way too many desks crammed into small spaces with random memorabilia scattered all over the walls and floor.
     
  15. Eleven Bravo

    Eleven Bravo Member+

    Atlanta United
    United States
    Jul 3, 2004
    SC
    Club:
    Atlanta Silverbacks
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    How would this be possible?
     
  16. thedukeofsoccer

    thedukeofsoccer Member+

    Jul 11, 2004
    Youtube: Jimmy Dore, Secular Talk
    Club:
    AFC Ajax
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    a) private mutiny where core players only compete in friendlies w/ new organizers until they're recognized by FIFA as the official national rep
    or
    b) public takeover by someone prideful in US being the best

    Route one they have more control over. But they wouldn't be desperate enough until they missed the WC for a 2nd straight year at least. Look at how meaningless games were in the Sarachan year. That's the best time to commit, betwixt cycles.
     
  17. xbhaskarx

    xbhaskarx Member+

    Feb 13, 2010
    NorCal
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States


    $9 million / year in legal fees...
     
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  18. sXeWesley

    sXeWesley Member+

    Jun 18, 2007
    Club:
    Portland Timbers
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Anson Dorrance weighs in:

    https://www.socceramerica.com/publi...dorrance-on-us-soccers-good-moves-its-ba.html

    SA: One of the obstacles to hiring youth national team coaches was introduction of a policy requiring relocation to Chicago. Your view on that?

    ANSON DORRANCE: It's ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. Why narrow your coach hiring pool down by having all these ridiculous hurdles you have to clear? We've read that [U.S. Soccer House in Chicago] is a toxic environment, so to bring them in, to infect them in the source is absolutely insane.

    What we need is a benign leadership that understands that coaches can do their jobs from where they live.

    And why have them move to Chicago where they're living in a tenement for the poverty stricken because we're not paying them enough? That's absolutely insane. And the hypocrisy of the people that pushed it through who fly back and forth to Holland is just beyond belief. This is something I would love to hand off to Rachel Maddow to discuss on her program to explain it to us the way she's explained so much to me about what's going on politically. Because it's absolute madness.
     
  19. sXeWesley

    sXeWesley Member+

    Jun 18, 2007
    Club:
    Portland Timbers
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Just to revisit the bogus hiring process that was flat out nepotism and corruption:

    https://worldsoccertalk.com/2018/12...cession-mistakes-gregg-berhalter-appointment/

    Here are three more final tawdry but unsurprising factoids about the US “coaching search.” Prior to the October friendlies against Colombia and Peru, US Soccer announced that Josh Wolff would be joining Dave Sarachan’s staff as an assistant. The explanation given was that the US had been without the full number of assistants since August when John Hackworth left to take the open Louisville City job (where he went on to win the club’s second straight USL title). Wolff is a former USMNT player and at the time of this announcement was an assistant with … the Columbus Crew. And by amazing coincidence, Wolff’s first game on the US staff saw the team switch to the preferred formation of the Columbus Crew. Again, it didn’t take a genius to put two and two together to figure out that Berhalter was going to be the guy, despite everything US Soccer said about this move being made to get younger assistants more experience and had nothing to do with the “search” for a manager.

    Another shock was that on October 25 of this year, US Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro took to Twitter and retweeted a post from FOX Soccer pundit Alexi Lalas saying that Pep Guardiola is not a better manager than Gregg Berhalter (the RT has since been deleted). Setting aside the insane premise that Berhalter is even in the same galaxy as Pep (who has won multiple trophies at clubs like Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City), how absurd is it that the head of US Soccer, an organization trying to tell everybody that there was a real search going on, is out there retweeting ridiculous hot takes that make it look like their pick for USMNT manager is better than the best manager in the world? Scary, sad, and unsurprising.

    But the most damning and shocking thing of all was that in the aftermath of the US’ defeat to Italy in November, Grant Wahl reported that former Spain and Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui reached out to US Soccer and asked them if he could manage the team … and US Soccer told the go-between that they weren’t interested (Lopetegui’s agent tried to dismiss this the next day, but Wahl laid out that an intermediary from Spain had contacted Jay Berhalter at US Soccer who then contacted Earnie Stewart). What kind of world are we living in where US Soccer has the former Real Madrid manager banging on its door and they turn him away? Think about living in a world where the manager of one of the biggest clubs in the world and a manager who has literally never lost a single game at the international level (Lopetegui went 14-0-6 in two years as the Spanish boss), reaches out to the US to ask if he can coach them (not the US reaching out to him, but the other way around) and US Soccer is so determined to keep it a Good ‘Ol Boys Club that they say they’re too far along with their “process” to consider him. Sheer lunacy. But one supposes that it’s hard to interview Real Madrid’s former manager when his brother (Jay Berhalter) isn’t the third most powerful man at US Soccer. It seems like not even managing one of the biggest clubs on the planet is good enough to get you into the Good Ole Boys Club.

    So that’s the background on the major players in this sad situation, now it’s time to take stock of it. This hire is a slap in the face to the American soccer public. The entire process, from missing the World Cup, to waiting 14 months to make a permanent hire, to making a bad hire was just one giant bad joke. It borders on negligence to have let it drag out as long as it did, especially considering that they knew who they were going after from day one.
     
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  20. truefan420

    truefan420 Member+

    May 30, 2010
    oakland
    Club:
    Chelsea FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I hope he airs all their dirty laundry
     
  21. truefan420

    truefan420 Member+

    May 30, 2010
    oakland
    Club:
    Chelsea FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I’m surprised their sharing info about Jay buying his next house.
     
  22. diablodelsol

    diablodelsol Member+

    Jan 10, 2001
    North Ridgeville, OH
    I want to punch this thread.
     
  23. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    why would that person be the chief commercial officer whose job it is to raise money, not allocate it?

    what are the problems you have with the USSF that you mentioned?
     
  24. Baysider

    Baysider Member+

    Jul 16, 2004
    Santa Monica
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy

    My point is that it sounded like Ramos wanted more money allocated to his group (youth development) and away from other groups (not managed by Ramos). If that is the case, it needed to go up to someone with broader responsibilities, I'm assuming Berhalter at the time.

    I think the USSF has various problems:

    It has a weak board. Many of the members do not have a high-level sports background or a high-level political/management background.

    It is too insular and puts too much emphasis on personal connections. The classic "boys club".

    Overlapping responsibilities in the soccer world breeds conflicts of interest in the USSF (even if people technically recuse themselves)

    My guess is that a lot of the people there are not all that good at management, Berhalter likely being one of them.


    Why it turned out that way is a separate question:

    This is functionally a political organization with multiple interest groups which means that outcomes reflect multiple, and sometimes conflicting, interests.

    For a long time, soccer wasn't very important in this country. That's how we ended up with a college professor holding an unpaid position in the USSF choosing the men's soccer coach. A lot of that attitude is still there.

    There are not a lot of people in the US with high-level experience in soccer management. Those that are are mostly associated with MLS and hiring those people brings back the conflict of interest problem. I've said before that Kathy Carter was the most qualified person for the president's job, and had very good ideas for how to improve the USSF, but was the wrong person for it because it would just add to the insular nature of the USSF. What we saw instead was a clown show with Wynalda, Martino and Solo. The fact that people were taking these candidates seriously shows just how bad the situation was.

    I think that some of the things people complain about are a result of these deeper problems. For example (even though I don't know the particulars) my expectation is the USSF has a bad deal with SUM. Why? SUM is run by a group of professionals with extensive media experience and who are very good at their jobs. On the USSF side, you have a bunch of amateurs. Who do you think would come out ahead?
     
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  25. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    well stated.

    Berhalter was not the person that Ramos should ask for more capital - that’s not his job as his is to raise money, not allocate it.

    I hear Ramos’ complaint as not I shouldnt have even had to ask but rather that a guy who has no business (or experience) on the soccer technical/operating side is making technical/soccer decisions.

    I agree with you that JBerhalter should have done a much better job on the SUM deal and the midnight no-bid contract signing is terrible optics at a minimum.
     

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