Tuesday night it seemed like there was little chance that the MLS Players Union and the owners would come to an agreement in time for the season to start. The owners were wanting an eight year deal and the players had overwhelmingly voted to strike.
By Wednesday night, as fans, players and media gathered for Sporting Kansas City's anticlimactic jersey unveiling, positive sounding tweets were anxiously being followed. Players were careful to not speak about the deal since they did not know what the deal was but each one reiterated that they trusted their representatives.
While the new 5 year deal was approved by the union, it was far from unanimous. All four of Sporting KC's reps (Jacob Peterson, Graham Zusi, Benny Feilhaber and Chance Myers) were in agreement, vote no. They were one of seven teams to not approve the new Collective Bargaining Agreement but approved it was.
"The results of the vote have been made public and we are not going to shy away from it," Jacob Peterson explained. "We as union reps there felt we were representing the best interests of not only our team but the players at large. Ultimately the majority of guys there felt the deal on the table was the proper deal and that is all we can do now moving forward."
When asked if the deal laid groundwork for the future, Peterson acknowledged there were some improvements. "There is no doubt that there are elements that are improvements from our old CBA, nobody here would refute that. It's also no secret that I think, we as a team here felt that there was more to be had."
"It's early to tell what the ramifications are of the agreement will be, it's two days old," Peterson continued. "We will get into the season, maybe next year sometime we can re-evaluate it. I want to see what positive changes were made."
There have been a number of anonymous comments made in the press and that has not made the Sporting KC reps happy. "I had a big issue with guys who were coming out as anonymous sources and ridiculing people who voted a different way than them. We are in this together ultimately as players and we want to see the league grow. Regardless of our differences in how we thought this should go, we are in this together. The union leadership is the same way, they have a tough job of managing twenty teams there and I thought they did a good job."
Not only did the SKC four survive the CBA negotiations, they had to struggle to get home. A storm blew in and they found themselves without flights. " We had four flights canceled but it was important for us to get here for training today so we drove to Cincinnati and got a flight out," Peterson said.