Friday, March 23, 2007


Shalrie Joseph must have stolen lollipops from infants, or kicked numerous puppies in a previous life. For these are the only explanations one can ascertain the absolute sheer bad karma (or luck, depending upon one’s philosophy) that the Revolution midfielder has experienced in the past seven months.

Case in point is his most recent run-in with Lady Luck: the Revs’ refusal to adhere to Joseph's recent contract demands. Subsequently, the Grenada native has demanded a trade elsewhere, preferably to a club which will satisfy the contractual demands a 2006 MLS “First XI” midfielder certainly deserves.

One might posit that such contractual negotiations souring do not constitute lack of luck. But let us look at the circumstances: Pat Noonan, no doubt a formidable presence on the pitch when healthy, was recently rewarded with a newly-minted extension. As was 2005 MLS MVP Taylor Twellman, but only after months of badgering publicly for a renewal. Thus, Mr. Joseph is apparently third in line for requesting an extension from the now cash-tapped Krafts. Apparently, the well of money (for its soccer team, at least) had run dry just as Joseph was making his demands.

According to a recent Boston Globe report that details some of the inner workings of the situation, Joseph's agent, Ron Waxman, has made overtures to MLS, Kraft Soccer president Sunil Gulati, and Revolution director of soccer Mike Burns in an effort to come to a resolution. Despite the lobbying, the sides appear to be standing at opposite ends of the Grand Canyon when it comes to bonus money.

It is no secret that the Kraft Sports have made hardball an Olympic sport when negotiating with its football and soccer players. To be fair, the club reportedly offered Joseph a very respectable $300,000 in annual compensation just prior to preseason training, with the additional monies in the form of contract bonuses becoming points of contention. Since then, no headway has been made with respect to sealing up an extension. On paper, it appears that this is simply just another stalled negotiation - unluckily for Joseph - as this is just the latest in a series of unfortunate events transpiring around one of the league’s best players.

What must be even more disheartening to Joseph is watching former teammate Clint Dempsey successfully orchestrate his own a transfer overseas in December, in addition to Noonan and Twellman recently having their contract extension requests granted. All the while, Joseph is seemingly “doomed” to the terms set forth in his current contract. All this must have Joseph feverishly pulling his trademark dreaded locks asking “What gives?”

Flash back to last summer. Celtic FC reportedly batted down the doors of MLS to the tune of $1 million dollars in an effort to outfit Joseph in the Bhoys' traditional green hoops. The transfer request was reportedly denied on multiple occasions, unquestionably leaving Joseph astutely aware of the value of his services in the eyes of an internationally renowned club. Using this knowledge as leverage in contract discussions with the Revs, it appears that Joseph's visible disappointment in being denied a one-way flight to Glasgow may have soured the front office to the extent in which the powers that be refuse to budge on the issue of bonus money.

Including the aforementioned failed transfer to Celtic, Joseph was inadvertently caught in the midst of a melee outside of a Boston nightspot last September, leaving him with serious lacerations on this right hand, and subsequently causing him to miss critical games down the stretch. Upon returning to action, he was fined and suspended for an on-field incident vs. Chicago, an incident which went uncarded by referee Tim Weyland (League officials insisted that Joseph launched an elbow to face of Fire defender Ivan Guerrero, while visual evidence of the event in question disputes this claim). Benched for round two of the semifinals, Joseph could only watch his squad vindictively triumph over the Fire. After another failed MLS Cup bid, reports circulated that Celtic had made yet another offer for the services of Joseph, which of course, was once again denied.

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