Whitecaps may have been on the International break but that didn't stop them from making the news
I'm sure that one day I will be able to write an article about the onfield product of the Vancouver Whitecaps but it won't be today!
I got to be involved in their latest of wild controversies this year first hand. This morning at 11:00 have I received a phone call from a Vancouver number I am familiar with, it was the Whitecaps phoning me. I only imagined since I had decided to buy season tickets next year that it was my rep who I had been talking to and emailed confirmation I wanted to get tickets on Sept. 3rd. I even answered the phone with "Hello, Dayton", but was thrown into a bit of confusion when the man on the other end said he was Josh Nanavaty and was the Senior Manager of fan relations for the team. Had I maybe won one of the many team contests I enter, maybe they liked how hard I was supporting? Nope.
He asked if I had a few minutes to talk which I didn't really because I was at a meeting for work with my Foster Child but hey it's my team so sure I got a couple of minutes. He went on to inform me that I was being banned from the remaining three home games because I had displayed a sign that wasn't approved. I was a bit shocked, and asked, "sorry what? I brought in signs the last 8 games and every time BC place checks my bags, I have never had to get a sign approved before?" He went on to say because it was a political sign I was being banned but I wouldn't have to take the MLS fan code of education class online, which costs $250.
Confusion over mixed messages and lack of sign checks at BC place
He also mentioned he knows how big of a fan I am. I was still so confused by all of this as I had someone at BC place tell me I had to hold my sign a certain way at the end of the game but that was all I had heard about it. The sign had an Iron front symbol on one side and the words #AUnitedFront and Against Fascism and Racism. I asked if I could call him back later that afternoon as I had some things to clarify and probably some more questions. I bring signs to games every time so at this point I was a little upset.
I instantly took to Twitter to share my unhappiness and let the rest of the Supporters group I am a part of (the Southsiders) I was being banned. I did not expect what happened next. I was instantly contacted through social media by a handful of different local media outlets all wanting to get me on the phone for a story, one even sent up a camera to take an interview. My phone did not stop going off from 11:00 am till well it's 11:00 pm right now and it's still going off. Needless to say, it may have gotten the attention of the Whitecaps.
So I just received a Call from the @WhitecapsFC and apparantly because @bcplace doesnt check the signs that I have been bringing in every game I have been Banned for the remaining 3 matches @MLS #AUnitedFront pic.twitter.com/YSg366ZW2Z
— Joshua (@JoshuaGriffith0) September 5, 2019
I tried to phone back Josh at 2:00 but only got a voicemail so I went out and did an on Camera interview with Global TV BC about the situation where I was informed that my supporters' group, The Southsiders, demanded that my ban be removed. I was a little bit emotional at this point because some of the main reasons I go out to support a 6 win 15 loss and 9 draw team is the atmosphere and the people I have been lucky enough to meet. I finished up around 3:15 ish and noticed I had some missed calls, voicemails and a new E-mail from the Whitecaps. It was Josh phoning me back and sending this email.
It was all just a really big "internal communication error"...
Apparently, it was all an "internal communication error" and I was only to receive a warning about my sign and be told more about the fan code of conduct. They also said regretabbly like they were sorry that they couldn't ban me but they didn't go about it the right or something. I didn't get it in the email but I did get several apologies on the phone finally. I have an issue with so many of the things that happened here, how could it have possibly been a communication error? Who was communicating what to who? How do they interpret such a vague code of conduct? Why do they allow clothing with the Iron front symbol but not signs?
I have been asked why I decided to bring that sign by a lot of people for this game when I haven't before. The fact is I'm watching too many other Football matches lately where fans are chanting racist things towards a player and until no player ever trying to play a game in any sport has to deal with that I will keep standing behind a message I know is right.
I have reached out to Josh and the team and asked that we choose to let this bad situation shine a light on some real issues and use to it bring awareness to Racism and Fascism. Hopefully, I get to leave my sign at home and we can create a bigger sign.
If you want to read another interesting story check out what Wayne Rooney and DC United players did in Vancouver.