Nowak files: spanking, water-deprived run and retaliation

The firing of head coach Peter Nowak by the Philadelphia Union is perhaps the most litigated personnel issue in MLS history with three different suits that have bounced around the courts.

A wrongful dismissal suit against Union was initially filed in the Federal court but later moved to arbitration as per the employment agreement Nowak had with the Union. Arbitrator Margaret Brogan ruled against Nowak and ordered him to pay the Union $454,258.89 in legal fees.

A suit against Major League Soccer for tortious interference with Nowak's employment was also filed in Federal court, where it was dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and then re-filed in state court. Nowak also sued the MLS Players' Union on the same grounds in Federal court, but that case was tossed on the grounds that the actions of the MLSPU -- advocating on behalf of the aggrieved Philadelphia players -- was just what it was supposed to do under the National Labor Relations Act.

The release by Jonathan Tannenwald of via Twitter (@TheGoalkeeper) of the evidence in the case included assertions that:

-- Nowak spanked rookies in a hazing routine he had used at D.C. United, going so far as to dipping his hand in ice water before spanking them and hitting players with a sandal.

-- He had players run 8-10 miles without access to water;

-- He mocked players for complaining about concussions and accused them of faking concussions;

-- He traded an unnamed player two weeks after the player brought Nowak's treatment of players to the attention of the MLS Players' Union.

The situation was so bad the MLS Players' Union threatened to strike if Nowak wasn't fired.

4 comments about "Nowak files: spanking, water-deprived run and retaliation".
  1. Raymond Weigand, January 6, 2016 at 12:36 p.m.

    Obviously the MLS ownership thought enough of this guy to hire him. I guess there was a bit of senior mismanagement to let it get this far. Of course, the benefit is for the other coaches to learn from the coaching styles of the clubs that finish near the bottom ... more lessons in what not to do.

  2. beautiful game, January 6, 2016 at 11:59 p.m.

    What was the league office doing about this NFL-style mentality. Garber appears to be another Goodell on a smaller scale of course.

  3. Paul Roby, January 7, 2016 at 1:36 a.m.

    He took us to the playoffs one year but I have no idea how that managed to happen after reading this...

  4. Ric Fonseca, January 7, 2016 at 11:41 p.m.

    Wait, wasn't he the coach when Freddy Adu went "prematurely" pro? Am I wrong?

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