Sean Donahue issued a short announcement last night over at New England Soccer Today explaining that New England Revolution officials have denied the reports he gathered from his source concerning the way the Monsef Zerka contract situation was handled. Through the media relations department, the team asserts that they made efforts to keep the Moroccan winger at the club.
Despite these denials, Sean trusts his source completely, and after conferring with that person, has restated that the source stands by the reports "100%." The source also added the following, paraphrased in Sean's article:
Further, the source advises that Zerka wanted to remain with the Revolution. But after preliminary contract talks were conducted, the source asserts that the club repeatedly stalled during the negotiation process before it eventually notified him that it had decided to go in a different direction.
I'm a little bit closer to the situation than I'm willing to let on at this point, so I'll just say this: I trust Sean's integrity and I trust his source. It's not that I don't trust the Revs media department - my relationship with them has always been a good one - but I know Sean, and I know he doesn't just make things up. He has a hard time separating his own desire to be a totally impartial journalist long enough just to put together an opinion piece; he wouldn't suspend his professionalism like that. And I know his source would have knowledge of this situation, so take all of this as you will.
What I don't like is that these allegations make it seem as though the Revs are still negotiating contracts like it's 2004. We all remember what happened with Jeff Larentowicz when the Revolution (negotiations led by Mike Burns, the common denominator through everything, although Steve Nicol had personnel control) low-balled him and caused him to jump ship for Colorado. More recently, there was the Marko Perovic fiasco, and Rajko Lekic leaving the Revs at the negotiating table because they were unwilling to offer him more than a semi-guaranteed deal. Sometimes good business is going to make these situations look callous and inhuman; such is the business of sports. However, the Revolution organization already has a league-wide reputation as one of the most hardheaded and needlessly-cold negotiators in the league, a reputation that is going to continue to scare quality players away from Foxborough.
Either way, the Revs are saying none of this happened. A good source says it did. Journalism, am I right?