Friday, August 12, 2011

Friendly-Fire and An Apology Accepted

Ooops. Our bad.
Last night, the FBM posted some criticisms of ESPN's soccer coverage from Wednesday's U.S. match versus Mexico. In that article we drew a connection to a local bar, Cuatro's (that was unnamed in the article), and tried to highlight the difficulty in satisfying the demands of "mainstream" sports fans and soccer fans.

We didn't mean to imply that there was an equivalent between the two in our criticisms. In reading the article again (and again and again) it's easy to see how easily one could think that we were saying that Cuatro's wasn't supportive of soccer and that wasn't our intention. Cuatro's is a great soccer bar in Austin and really has done a lot to build up the support in our city. We're both working towards the same goal and this was friendly-fire indeed.

We immediately e-mailed the bar owner to apologize. In the interests of full disclosure we're publishing our letter to him and his response below:

FBM to Cuatro:
First and foremost I'd like to apologize. I am going to assume I'm probably not your most favorite person in the world right now.
When I wrote the article on ESPN it was not meant as a hit job on your restaurant. There was no intention to imply that Cuatro's is not a great place for soccer. In fact I state in the column on several occasions how much I've enjoyed watching matches there. The quotes around "love soccer" wasn't meant to imply that your commitment to the sport was anything less than what've you've done for the sport in Austin. In fact it was just to highlight the idea of loving soccer (not to use them for sarcasm).
I used your bar (and purposely left the name out for the exactly purpose of it not coming across like I was calling Cuatro's out) as an example of how difficult it is to balance the needs of so-called "mainstream" sports versus a soccer audience much like ESPN has dealt with. You admitted as much of how it would be hard and the tough choices made at your establishment in balancing UT fans and soccer fans no matter how little their times of games cross paths. I wanted to use the US Soccer Bar example to show that soccer fans (or the federation) demand a lot of fidelity and that since your bar is so diverse in it's sporting interests it has a tough line to balance upon unlike Fado where most people do not go for other than soccer (and that place has plenty of drawbacks as well).
What I realize now is that in writing an article criticizing ESPN for not getting "serious" about soccer it definitely comes across as painting Cuatro's with the same brush. That was not my intention at all, but from your comments and others it has come off that way and I can see where I've erred majorly.
That being said... there is no doubt that Cuatro's has done an incredible service to the Austin soccer community (and will continue to do so) and I've done an incredible disservice to you, the soccer fans that watch games there, and to the good will you've shown myself and the FBM so very recently.
I have removed the offending portion of the article from the site and issued an apology at the top of the post. I'd like to be able to post this correspondence in full as well (with your permission).
I'd still like to be able to stop on by and personally apologize to you at Cuatro's. Additionally it is probably a burned bridge right now, but in an effort to re-build that bridge with you and your patrons I'd like to see how we can move past this and forward if a bar program is still possible.
Again I am deeply sorry. Consider this an extremely amateur mistake from someone who clearly did not know any better.
Cuatro's Response:
No harm no foul man. I have to admit that I was kind of taken back when I read your blog this morning. After our conversation a couple of weeks ago, I started subscribing to you blog and following you on twitter, taking solace in a like minded pursuit. So when I read that this morning, it took me by surprise and I felt the need to post a comment to correct what was written from my point of view. I didn't anticipate nor expect the outpouring of support that I received but it made me smile. I appreciate your apology and want to assure you that there is no bridge burned here. I know that we are after the same thing and it doesn't do either of us any good to be divided. So stop by, we'll bury the hatchet and maybe buy some football fans a beer and explain to them the beautiful game. You have my permission to post this correspondence as well. Thanks again for your apology.
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Anonymous said...

I would like to applaud both of you for being adults and handling this in a mature way. Not having read the offending material, I can not comment on the original post. However, I was appalled by the responsive posts. Scratching off a bumper sticker? Come on guys. Soccer fans in the U.S. do not need to be so sensitive. In fact we can't afford to. We are, by nature, a cranky group of people. We have been neglected for so long and many of us are bitter. I just hope we don't make irrational anger towards people who are fighting to better the sport in this country. Sometimes I think we all just need to relax and learn how to post respectful and gentlemanly posts, just like Danny Beerseed and Cuatro did. There are way too few of us to start turning on ourselves.

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