It always makes for interesting TV when reporters relay just-breaking news to who they’re talking to in the middle of an on-air discussion, something we’ve seen with Adam Schefter and Adrian Wojnarowski (among others) on ESPN’s SportsCenter. The latest example of this came from Julie Stewart-Binks, who was interviewing MLS commissioner Don Garber Monday for her Drinks With Binks fubo Sports Network show (which airs Wednesday nights). That conversation involved Stewart-Binks asking Garber when MLS would have its next female GM or head coach (the league previously had one female general manager, Lynne Meterparel with the then-San Jose Clash in 1999), and Garber responded “Any day now.” After that, Stewart-Binks saw news of D.C. United hiring Lucy Rushton as GM, and relayed that news to Garber during their interview:
Multiple sources have confirmed that @dcunited will announce the hiring of their first female GM, Lucy Rushton, unofficial news that broke (s/o @MLSist) while @MLS Commissioner @thesoccerdon was on #DrinkswithBinks pic.twitter.com/VUvfHeMS8I
— Julie Stewart-Binks (@JSB_TV) April 13, 2021
Garber says, with a laugh, “I wish you’d told me this before I answered the question a few minutes ago,” and Stewart-Binks says “I wish I knew! I just found out from my producer.” Garber then says “It’s obviously great, great, great news.” After a cut, Stewart-Binks asks “What do you think in the greater scheme of things this means for MLS on a global scale?”, and Garber says “There’s a very-heralded female general manager in baseball (Kim Ng), and just look at the news and the engagement and the stories about baseball. For us, this is fantastic.”
“My answer to the previous question is I feel the same way today, there’s no reason there couldn’t be a female head coach, there’s no reason there couldn’t be a female commissioner. We have a female president in our league (Danita Johnson was hired as DC United’s new president of business operations in December), a female general counsel, and I think we have to get to the world where it almost doesn’t matter, where everyone who’s in these roles are going to be the most qualified people, the ones who are going to take it to the next level regardless of gender, race or ethnicity, or sexual preference. And I actually am pretty optimistic that we’re going to get to that point sooner rather than most people think. And this is one of the positive things to come out of 2020, Julie; all this social justice and awareness and racial awakening, I think it is going to cause us, at a time where we were thoughtful about the world in the first place, to perhaps be more aggressive in diverse hires.”
It’s pretty interesting to see anyone find out breaking news on what they’re discussing while they’re in the middle of an interview, and that’s maybe even more notable when it’s a league commissioner. And Garber seems to handle this pretty well, rolling with how this changed from a possibility to a fait accompli mid-discussion.
Granted, there had been some discussion about Rushton (previously Atlanta United’s head of technical recruitment and analysis since their 2016 beginnings, before that a senior performance analyst with English club Reading (from 2008-15) and a player recruitment analysis with Watford (in 2007), and an accomplished player in her own right with Reading) out there before this. And the idea of a female MLS GM wasn’t totally out of left field especially with Meterparel already holding that role in 1999. But still, it’s interesting to see a commissioner have to adapt to something changing that quickly.
Stewart-Binks’ full interview with Garber can be seen on Drinks With Binks Wednesday. The show airs on fubo Sports Network at 8 and 8:30 p.m. ET/PT.