Sounders MLS players union representative Brad Evans spoke to local media about the ongoing league labor negotiations for the first time on Saturday, and he didn’t hold back.
Asked whether he was willing to strike for free agency, which he called the “sticking point,” Evans said “absolutely.”
Below are his comments in full following Saturday’s season-opening training session at Starfire Sports Complex:
“I have lots of thoughts,” Evans said. “At this point, it’s pretty much a stalemate. When I’m negotiating for a house, I like to get the best deal and the person selling the house also likes to get the best deal. At the 11th hour, when they’re expecting bids, I expect them to battle it out. I expect it to be the same. At this point, there’s been no movement on free agency, which is the biggest topic. I think that encompasses everything. It involves money, it involves contracts. It’s a big umbrella, a lot of stuff revolves around that. At this point, there’s not a lot of movement on their side, and we’ve been told there won’t be. For us, that’s the big sticking point.
“We’re willing to battle for what is right. And not only right, but necessary.
“I think five years ago, we were so far off in every category. Those include per diem – how much we get for breakfast on the road, how much we get for lunch, how much we get for dinner. Do we get free Internet at hotels? Are the hotels up to standard? Do we get aisle seats, do we get window seats or do we have to sit in the middle? There were so many things that needed to get hashed out, that we knew we were going to have to give somewhere. For things to progress, we took some smaller things. If we can get with these things for five years, we’ll put ourselves in a position to progress even further instead of shooting ourselves in the foot and maybe shooting for too much at that point.
“But the league isn’t where it was five years ago. We all know that. It’s leaps and bounds from where it was. We know we’re in a good position. We’ve got everything else taken care of, except for this one main issue. That’s going to be the biggest thing.”