WPS Responds to MagicJack's Owner Dan Borislow, Team's Violations

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WPS Responds to MagicJack's Owner Dan Borislow, Team's Violations

The magicJack saga continues.

After virtually six months of silence from the South Florida based club (formerly known as the Washington Freedom), players are finally able to speak to the media and team owner Dan Borislow has made his views public. 

The league has responded to violations of league policy with fines, loss of draft picks and a one point deduction in the standings. 

For those of you who may have missed just a day’s worth of WPS news, here’s a recap:

Week 3

Following the team’s first home game, monetary fines were assessed as a first show of non-compliance with league standards.

May 1

Borislow denies Jeff Rusnak, a reporter from the Sun Sentinel, access to players following a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Independence.

May 3

WPS released the following statement in response to the media blackout by magicJack:

Since our inaugural season, WPS has set in place mandatory requirements that would ensure each team is providing the media with the appropriate access to team players and personnel to meet a similar standard to those seen in all of professional sports.  This includes, among other things, access to all requested home and visiting team players and coaches on the day prior to a game, and immediately following the conclusion of any scheduled WPS Match.

All teams are aware that WPS will enforce penalties for non-compliance of league standards including but not limited to monetary fines, loss in points, and/or loss of future draft picks.  We are monitoring all teams and have issued the appropriate notices and penalties for those found to be non-compliant.

The league is aware of magicJack’s violations of league policy in regards to media regulations and we have addressed these with the team.

Penalties:

The team lost a fourth-round draft pick in the 2012 draft for their second show of non-compliance with league standards. 

 

May 8

Players are made available to the media following win over Atlanta.

May 12

Third show of non-compliance:

  • Failing to display field boards of league sponsors (onsite commercial activation)
  • Failing to upload match footage to Match Analysis (third week)
    • Archives match footage
    • Enables other coaches to scout

Result:

Loss of a third-round draft pick in the 2012 WPS Draft AND loss of one point in the league standings.

 

The team was also found to currently be in violation of three other league standards as reported by Jenna Pel on All White Kit:

  1. Having a functioning website. MagicJack was given a two week extension at the beginning of May which will expire this week.  If the website is still inaccessible the league will levy penalties.
  2. Minimum seating capacity is to be 5,000. Florida Atlantic University seats approximately 1,500.  Even if the team were to petition USSF to downsize the minimum to 2,500, the team would still be short of the downsized minimum capacity.
  3. Covered press box with a clear view of the field. The press box at FAU is currently situated in the corner and does not offer for optimum sight lines. WPS will send a request to FAU to move the press box, but they cannot require FAU to move it.

MagicJack goalkeeper Hope Solo posted a series of tweets on Thursday afternoon in regards to the one point deduction. Her twitter feed was subsequently deleted or I’d be able to post them here. 

Solo has told ESPN’s Jeffrey Carlisle that she did not purge the tweets. The league released a brief statement in regards to the situation as well:

“WPS encourages the players and personnel in the league to use social media to their advantage to represent themselves, the league and the game in a positive manner. We do not have any ‘editorial’ control over individual twitter pages and were not involved in the recent purge of tweets on Hope’s page.”

Thursday night also saw Dan Borislow’s responses to the penalties assessed to his club as well as the remaining violations. 

This is one that is likely better read in full.  Click here to read Borislow’s responses to Jenna Pel at All White Kit.

 

May 13

Beau Dure’s post on his blog Sports Myriad detailing the point deduction and penalties assessed became an interactive chat with Borislow. 

May 14

The league responded to Borislow’s public comments. The league statement can be read in full HERE.  CEO Anne-Marie Eileraas explains that the league has been patient and has allowed time for the team to meet the league standards:

“WPS has offered the team (re-named magicJack) ample time, options and assistance to ensure that all league standards were met.  To our disappointment, the team has failed to meet these standards, and instead of working with his partners to address those failures, Mr. Borislow has chosen to make public statements that reflect a blatant disregard for the truth and are damaging to the best interests of the league.  In penalizing the team, WPS has not acted without cause or precedent, and has only taken the action necessary to enforce the regulations of the league,” Eileraas said.

 

That is where we sit now. Only time will tell how much uglier this situation will get. It will get worse before it gets better. 

How much worse is the question we still have to answer.

UPDATED 5/23:

Just hours away from kickoff of last night's 3-0 loss to the Western New York Flash, WPS released the following statement:

For public statements that are derogatory and not in the best interests of the league, Dan Borislow (magicJack) is required to pay a fine of $10,000 and has been suspended from serving in any technical capacity for magicJack for two (2) games, effective immediately.

Borislow was in the owner's box at last night's match in Rochester.  Fox Soccer Channel also reported that they too ran into some trouble gaining information on magicJack during the week leading up to the broadcast.

UPDATED 5/24:

According to Sun Sentinel Reporter Dave Brousseau, Borislow will not pay the fine. 

"I have no intention of paying the fine," Borislow said. "I don't know what the league is thinking."

The team owner also stated that he will wait to see if the league further penalizes the team and will "deal with it then."

To read Brousseau's full story please click here.

Apparently things can get worse.  It's looking like things are going to get ugly.

UPDATED 6/10:

magicJack team owner/interim head coach Dan Borislow has been fined and suspended by WPS for the second time this season.  The league released the following statement:

"For failure to comply with league rules and directives by appearing on field level during a game while serving his suspension as coach, Dan Borislow (magicJack) is required to pay a fine of $5,000 and has been suspended from serving in any technical capacity for magicJack for three (3) games, effective June 9, 2011."

All disciplinary action is available for fans and media to check week by week.

The question remains is whether Borislow will comply with the league or continue to do things his way.  if the previous month and a half is any indication, I'd say we're still in for a long ride.

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