Peter Nowak was fired as the coach of the Philadelphia Union under controversial circumstances in 2012. This past summer, Nowak sued the players’ union and MLS for causing his termination, and he previously sued the Union for wrongful termination. The MLS/players’ union part of the suit came about because:
During the “discovery process” of the [first] suit, Nowak learned that his firing was “precipitated by an investigation demanded” by the players’ union and conducted by MLS. That investigation, the suit later claims, was related to “a disputed training exercise” which took place in May of 2012.
Nowak is basically alleging that the league and players’ union meddled in his livelihood and got him wrongfully terminated. The suit against the Union was ordered to go to arbitration, and last night Philly.com writer, producer, soccer scribe Jonathan Tannenwald obtained over 200 pages of new documents in the case. It doesn’t look great for Nowak.
There’s a ton of stuff on Tannenwald’s Twitter feed (@thegoalkeeper), but here’s a breakdown of sorts to help you get to the meaty bits:
- Nowak, in an old Italian grandmother move, reportedly engaged in hazing by spanking rookie players (including a minor) with his sandal and his hand. He reportedly dipped his hand in ice water to make it numb, apparently so he could spank them harder. Former Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz says he told Nowak to stop, but Nowak didn’t stop. DON’T MAKE ME GET MY SANDAL!
- In his section, Nowak doesn’t deny doing this. Instead, he argues that Sakiewicz knew about it, and he “loved it.” He also said there is no league rule against hazing, so get off his back about it.
- Another claim is that Nowak would call players a “pussy” if they had a concussion, told them they should not miss any time due to the injury, and he would claim that, in Germany, concussions don’t exist. The implication seems to be that Nowak doesn’t actually believe concussions are real.
- In Nowak’s rebuttal, he admits he doesn’t know concussion protocol, but denies making a player play through one.
- Nowak doesn’t seem to understand what hydration is. The Union’s side of the suit claims that Nowak “forced injured players to participate in that water-less, 10-to-12 mile run (the so-called training exercise mentioned above), over objections from head trainer Paul Rushing.” To take the water bottles away, Nowak actually “threw them in the bushes.”
The lawsuit is over wrongful termination and supposed meddling by the league and the players’ union, but the that’s not nearly as interesting as a head coach that didn’t believe in concussions, spanked minors with a cold, numb, hand, and denied players their CBA rights. DOOP!