From Goff comes news that, not only has Kevin Payne issued an apology, he has been fined $5,000 by the league for making derogatory comments about other teams.
Here is the mea culpa:
I deeply regret some of the comments I made in an interview published earlier this week. In trying to explain the sometimes unfair expectations on the head coach of D.C. United, I made critical comments of Colorado, New England, Real Salt Lake and the league. Those comments were unprofessional. I have great personal regards and professional respect for my colleagues at those organizations and for their ownership and fans. I have apologized to those teams and individuals privately and now do so publicly.
The apology to the other teams and fans seems sincere enough. The imposition of the fine by the league is typically stupid.
All of this misses the troublesome aspects of Payne's comments from the perspective of a DC United fan, however. Taken as a whole, his comments to Goff smacked of (i) hubris and (ii) a dislocation from reality that was either contrived (bad enough) or actual (terrifying).
One of the things you want to hear as a fan is that the management recognizes problems and is working to solve them. Payne's comments suggested a blindness to the performance of United (and the coach) on the field and a tin ear to the fans' expectations (and DC United fans have very high expectations, particularly in light of Payne's and United's past success).
In other words, DC United has not been playing attractive soccer for quite a while. It also has off-field issues (the stadium and the apparently falling attendance (or at least the drop off in generalized positive buzz)). Therefore, before chest beating based on past glory, it would be helpful to see United stabilize the level of its play to "decent" and show progress toward resolving the big picture items.
I'm sure Kevin Payne wants this too, but his comments appeared, quite shockingly, to miss the boat. The best apology will be assembling a good team for next year. Let them do the talking by beating up on New England, Colorado, and Salt Lake.