Yesterday it was announced that Callum Williams and Diego Gutierrez would not be returning for the 2015 season, with Sporting Kansas City not retaining the two broadcasters.
Except, that it wasn't announced. The Kansas City Star reported the news and that was the end of the line for Sporting Kansas City. No press release, no tweets, no mention of Callum Williams not being retained at all except for one retweet of Robb Heineman's tweet.
"Easy to c reaction on my feed. Cal was great for skc and captured some of our greatest moments with incredible skill. What we want in that role is someone that will be here for the very long term and, like cal, build a strong relationship w our fans. Understandably Cal has other career aspirations which doesn't come as a huge surprise. Unfortunately sometimes things just don't match up, but we wish Cal a great career, and he will always have a prominent place in skc lore."
But, as of this afternoon, there is nothing on the Sporting Kansas City website. There is nothing to suggest that Sporting KC did anything that afternoon except pass in the 2014 Waiver Draft. Callum Williams meant a lot to the Sporting KC community. He came over with the rebrand and instantly became a voice behind the transformation of the club that has been publicized so much.
As Heineman said, Williams will always have a prominent place in SKC lore. He will forever be the voice behind the calls of the 2012 US Open Cup and the 2013 MLS Cup. These games will be looked back in years to come as some of the glory years of Sporting Kansas City. Regardless of how well the club will be doing at the time, fans will look back at these 4-5 years and Callum Williams will provide a voice to those video highlights.
For Sporting Kansas City to barely acknowledge the move to not retain him does not come off well. I'm not saying that Williams should be inducted into the Sporting Legends or anything but to not even say anything about the move at all suggests an air of secrecy that is not becoming to the club. It's simple public relations, put a release on the website saying exactly what Heineman said: that Williams was a very good commentator but different career aspirations from the club's requirements for a play-by-play man led them in different paths. That's fine, that's understandable and it's a good enough reason not to retain Williams, especially if he were to have offers waiting for him.
There have been some criticisms by fans of the commentating booth for the past couple of years, with some complaining about the play-by-play becoming too homerish, as well as the color commentary. Gutierrez was notorious for this and we saw a transformation with Williams for the past couple of years becoming more favorable to Sporting KC that made it seem like it was the club's instruction and not Williams' personal style change.
This non-retention and the subsequent silence by the club does not come off well. This reeks of an organization trying to hide bad news when, in reality, there's nothing to hide. If what Heineman is saying is true, then the club needs to mirror the statement and thank Williams for his four years on the job. If the two are simply going separate ways, there's no need for this silence and lack of acknowledgement. Right now, it seems like Sporting KC is trying to hide something. Heineman's tweet is good but it's not enough.
To the fan base, Williams was worth more than this. He was actively engaged in the club, doing play-by-play on television, radio and even internet streams. When he wasn't, he was tweeting about Sporting KC and MLS and was a very good ambassador for the club. For SKC to toss him aside like this without a mention of the non-retention is bad form.
The reasons Heineman gave are understandable and would warrant non-retention. Sporting KC dropped the ball by not giving this the press it deserved.