UPDATE: Wednesday, May 2 – Apparently last night, after all the uproar, MLS took down the podcast of the April 30 show with Borg’s comments. Just this morning, the show was reposted, but it was edited and included an apology.
12:14 p.m. CT – MLS released this official statement over the response to Borg’s comments.
Anyone know Simon Borg? Anyone? Anyone? Well, if you’re a diehard of MLS, you are probably familiar with the writer and editor of the league’s web site. He also co-hosts MLS’ official podcast, Extra Time Radio. And listen up ladies, on Monday he had a few choice words for us at the end of the show.
As the talking began to wind down on the hour-long podcast, the hosts were answering emails about balancing soccer and love lives …. okay, whatever. As the guys go through the emails, one male fan reported from Kansas City about seeing a number of female fans in the stands and how he felt soccer games were more of a date night with “many happy couples leaving the stadium together.” This seemed very promising.
Then the hosts started to answer “a few tweets from the ladies out there.” And here is where the pot started to boil. Borg even said what he was going to say was going to be unpopular – should have stopped him there, but oh well. He decided to voice his opinion on the apparent two groups of female soccer fans. Because we can’t just be fans ladies, we are either casual fans who know very little about the game or we’re Borg’s “Superfans,” who live and breathe soccer. If you feel the need to go listen to Monday’s broadcast, head on over to Extra Time’s Web site. But if you don’t want to listen to the ending drabble – and who could blame you – here’s what ol’ Simon said at about the 59 minute mark.
“It’s fine if you want to be a ‘super fan’ and you are a female. That’s fine, that’s your choice. But there is something to be said about how appealing that might be to the other sex. Just having a woman that’s such a fan, painting your face, tuning into every podcast … I don’t know how many males are into that.”
It’s cool for women to be into it. But for the guy that wants to be in a serious relationship, do you really want that? … But if you are such a die-hard, there might be a point where that becomes a turn off.”
The IRONY here, really, is that the emails read by the hosts from male fans BEFORE Borg’s remarks discussed having girlfriends that weren’t fans and the troubles they encountered because their female partners did not share the same love of the beautiful game as they did.
So, I’m confused. Guys want a girl to not nag them about their passion for sports, but we can’t be as passionate about the sport as them? I think ol’ Simon needs a bit of a reality check here. And on the matter of “casual fan” and “super fan” … I don’t know ANY casual soccer fans! It’s not possible, trust me. You get sucked into the beautiful game and that’s it, you’re hooked for life.
To me, it sounds like someone is intimidated. Do we really know that or not? No. But lashing out at a fan base that’s helping to grow the league – remember, Borg is not a journalist, he is employed by Major League Soccer - doesn’t seem like the best way to go about it. Now, I’m reasonable. I’m sure Borg didn’t go into that show wanting to turn the female MLS fan base against him. But it’s a steep lesson in “think before you speak.” How can women fans not take offense to his remarks?
Fortunately though, the majority of the male fan base doesn’t seem to share Borg’s thoughts. There have been many guys stepping up, stating how their significant others being soccer “super fans” is hot. And the single guys are agreeing too – a woman who knows the sport and is passionate about it is pretty hot.
And of course, women fans of the league have not been meek and mild about what they think of Borg’s comments. Women’s United Football Club – a Web site started to unite women MLS fans – was all over the situation too. So much so that Borg tweeted “if there’s anything left to talk about,” the founders of the site were more than welcome to be guests on Extra Time to discuss the issue. Aww, how sweet of him.
Don’t worry Simon. There’s plenty still to talk about. And by the way MLS, the ladies of Aerys Soccer hope that you realize if you want to grow the game in the states, you’re going to have to include everyone. Even the women.