On Friday, MLS commissioner Don Garber sent a memo warning strongly against leaking league information to media outlets, mentioning The Athletic specifically. On Friday afternoon, that memo was leaked to The Athletic.

That’s from this report from Paul Tenorio, who notes that Garber and the league office wasn’t happy because leaks could be damaging their negotiating position as MLS attempts to return to play.

Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber sent a memo to all league and club personnel Friday threatening employees with disciplinary action, including termination of employment and fines up to $1 million, for leaking information.

The memo, a copy of which was acquired by The Athletic on Friday afternoon, cites leaked information “impacting our negotiations with players, commercial partners and local authorities” regarding a potential return from its COVID-19 suspension. Garber added that the leaks could “severely imperil the future of our League.” 

This was sent as the league is attempting to engineer a return-to-play tournament in Orlando with the regular season suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The memo explicitly singles out The Athletic’s recent reporting about the league’s plan to return to play in Orlando — it includes a line about “staff within our League” repeatedly discussing confidential information with “reporters from this publication.”

It’s hard to have a better advertisement for your reporting than this, to be honest.

Tenorio’s report also includes this line:

The league did not immediately comment on Garber’s memo when reached by The Athletic. 

The visual of Garber’s office being asked to comment on a piece in The Athletic about a leaked memo they’d just sent out detailing punishments and fines for anyone leaking to The Athletic is probably worth a year-long subscription just on its own.

[The Athletic]

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.