The banter between fans and players and coaches is supposed to be a one-sided affair - fans berate while players and coaches act professionally and ignore it. Sometimes the players and coaches will see the humor in some of the more creative chants (we still love you here in Philly, Jimmy Nielsen), others not so much. File Mike Petke and the New York Red Bulls under "not so much".
During pregame tifo setup, the capos on the stand started jawing at the New York players as is the norm for any team coming through the tunnel. One of the capos started calling Thierry Henry "Captain Handball", and he and Henry "chirped back and forth for like a minute" according to the capo. Apparently Petke came back up the tunnel and started screaming "Hey! Hey! F**K YOU!" while pointing at the capo. Petke continued his tantrum by saying "You're all scumbags! You'll never amount to anything!" before going back down the tunnel to the locker rooms.
Perhaps he was bummed he had to ditch the sweater vest thanks to the pouring rain. Regardless, players and coaches are not allowed to interact with fans in such a manner. I've reached out to Sal Della Monica, MLS Director of Communications for clarification on this and will post any updates I get from the league. The Philadelphia Union do have cameras on the tunnel in the event of such incidents, so I'm sure they'd cooperate with any league investigation that would take place.
Editor's note: The incident apparently happened during tifo setup, not postgame as originally stated.
I just talked to another of the capos present for the incident. This is what he told me:
Yeah, so we were finishing set up and hanging by the tunnel to the 138 capo stand and a Red Bull guy (equipment manager) kept looking around. I told him it was raining and he left. (A) few minutes later a player walks by and another capo says he wants to yell at (thierry) Henry. we all made jokes about what we would say and I added to keep it clean(ish). all the jokes banter were about handballs.
Sure enough all the players start walking from behind the barrier and one of the first is Henry. The other capo yells "Oh look! It's Captain Handball!" and we all laugh. I turned around laughing, and when I turned back the rest of the players stopped because Henry was in the locker room door talking back to the group (everyone joined in at this point). Henry made a motion and point down like he wanted the other capo to "come over and say it to his face".
Eventually they all went in. I don't think most of the players knew what was going on. A few minutes later we're all still standing there. I was closest to the bike rack that separates the locker room doors from the breeze way and was talking about what to do regarding tifo because the rain, and I hear "Hey! Hey! F**k you!" When I turned around, Petke was pointing (I think at me at first) and I turned and looked at the other capo. Then he (Petke) continued to yell calling us "low lifes" and "scumbags", saying we pay to watch his players. He didn't really look angry, just yelling. Then security started telling us to move away. I'm not sure if anything was said back to Petke (it must have been though). We took a few steps away and Petke went inside and security was laughing and telling us we didn't have to leave.
Stay classy, Mike Petke.