I have to take exception to Sam Stejskal's piece about Denis Hamlett and the Chicago Fire "parting ways." Sam writes:
Another factor that could have contributed to the non-renewal of Hamlett's contract is the controversy that has -- at times -- wrapped itself around Hamlett (and the club) in the last two years. The most notable instance took place on August 9th of this year, when Hamlett and former defender Bakary Soumare got into a highly publicized locker room spat at halftime of the Fire's regular season match at Houston.
No one is denying that the Soumare incident happened, but one point doesn't make a line. So if Stejskal wants us to believe that controversy has "wrapped itself around Hamlett," he's going to need more evidence. Like, any other evidence. The only other incident I could possibly think of would be not trading Wilman Conde to New York when he pitched a fit about wanting to follow Juan Carlos Osorio to his new club. Except that this decision wasn't exactly controversial to anyone who understands contract law, or who held a grudge against Osorio for bailing out, an audience that includes Fire owner Andrew Hauptman.
I'm guessing some of the ignorati on Internet message boards will point to not making subs at halftime, or taking somebody they liked out of a game and replacing them with someone they don't like, but I'm hard-pressed to come up with any truly bizarre lineup maneuvers. Certainly not along the lines of Rafa Benitez taking Fernando Torres out of Liverpool's match against Fulham a couple of weeks ago. Not even close.
Oddly enough, the rap on Hamlett ended up being the same as the rap that ultimately did in one of his predecessors -- Dave Sarachan. Denis Hamlett didn't break shit in the locker room and throw temper tantrums on the sideline, and was thusly deemed "not passionate enough" by management. And by fans. Incoming Section 8
presidentchairman Tom Dunmore said in a blog post that the coach "never managed to engage with fans as he could have," as if that's any part of his job description whatsoever. Or as if any coach before him in Chicago had done anything like that in the past. But the decision itself is really a separate issue that I may or may not get into later. Suffice it to say that I think it was the wrong call.
I don't like being this harsh on Sam. He's a good kid and, by his own admission in a recent blog post, his first ever journalism class was something like a year or two ago. Hopefully that means he can recognize that he's still learning, and that this is not good journalism. This is ginning up a narrative when none exists, and unless the Northwestern student aspires to a career in politics, he should just stick to actual, provable facts, and not take one incident and magically turn it into a trend.
As for the Tribune, which seems to think mostly unpaid blogging is somehow going to rescue its doomed industry, you get what you pay for.
UPDATE: Fixed Tom's title and linked to his quote, as per his comments.
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