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Peter Nowak throwing shade in wrongful termination lawsuit

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Through the released court documents of the wrongful termination lawsuit we have learned some nuggets of juicy information about former members of the club, namely John Hackworth and Nick Sakiewicz.

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It was obvious from the assertion that Peter Nowak told Shep Messing that the Union "don't know what they're doing" and that Nick Sakiewicz "doesn't have a [expletive] clue" that there were issues between the club and Mr. Nowak while he was still employed in Philadelphia. It is no surprise then that Nowak's side of the lawsuit has dropped some truth bombs against those he felt wronged by.

Public enemy number one for Nowak seems to have been Nick Sakiewicz, but he isn't the only one thrown under the bus. There are plenty of remarks about the actual termination hearing and what was given as reasoning for his termination, but that isn't the juicy part. Here are three of the biggest, juiciest pieces of information Nowak's legal team provided:

  1. Nowak doesn't deny the fact that the hazing incidents happened, and actually doesn't even show any remorse for his actions. Leaving aside the fact that there have been rookie members of the team who were under the age of 18 and could have been involved in these actions, it is alleged that the hazing was video taped by assistant coaches John Hackworth and Rob Vartughian. 

    The idea that the current US Under-17 national team coach did not stand up against hazing and took part in the recording of said acts against rookies is potentially damning for one specific reason. While there are no names attached, but the Union during that time did include rookies that were younger than the players currently playing for the residency program that he oversees. Will this information cause any ripples in the USSF community?

  2. Furthermore about the video tapes, it is alleged that Sakiewicz had seen the videos, laughed, and put up no resistance about the fact that it was happening. Nowak claims "He saw it with Richie Graham (a new investor at the time) in the lobby in the hotel in Costa Rica. He love it, like every year he did, with some sponsors. Like in Crete in Greece, the sponsors were there from Colonial Marble."

    Not only did Sakiewicz know about the hazing, see it for himself, and not disapprove of it, but he also viewed the video to sponsors and investors of the club. One of the issues that the Union claim for the termination of Nowak is that he brought harm to the image of the club that could not be cured. Hazing is a very polarizing topic. If it is true that Sakiewicz was showing a video of hazing to sponsors and investors it could have had a negative impact on the Union's standing with those relationships.

  3. The last point has to do with a trade that happened in May of 2012. The documents from the lawsuit have retracted many of the names and teams involved in the trade, but the timing leads us to only one name, Danny Califf. The Union are saying he was traded because he went to the Union, the Players Union, not to be mistaken with the Philadelphia Union, about the environment of the team including hazing and health concerns. Specifically the document states "the Union urges the Arbitrator to conclude that Mr. trade to was a retaliatory action for Mr. having raised the issue."

    Nowak's side of the lawsuit denies that with former Head of Scouting and Player Development, Diego Gutierrez stating "Mr. had lost his step, he was not good enough anymore" and "had a good year in but after the off season came back a different player where he was a lot slower."  Nowak's testimony takes it a step farther though. "I received a text message from Mr. Sakiewicz after one of the games, that he cost us the game and we have to do something about it" is a direct quote from Nowak. 

    The timing of the May 17th trade of Danny Califf to Chivas USA lines up with a run of three straight loses. The first of those loses was a 2-1 home defeat to San Jose Earthquakes where Danny Califf's mark, Steven Lenhart, scored a late winner. The third of those games, Califf was omitted from the starting lineup. It was always assumed that Nowak and Califf butted heads, but the added notion that Sakiewicz was the final nail in his coffin and wanted him gone can't sit well with fans. It also proves why the Union never moved to bring Califf back into the organization after Califf retired and Nowak was terminated.
It will be interesting how the news continues to shape the Union's relationship with the fans and how the lawsuit shapes up. While most of those involved in the lawsuit have left the organization, the fans are still here, dealing with the wrongs that have been done by the organization over the short history of the franchise. The first, and easily largest, legend of the Union franchise has a message for the blue and gold faithful:


Below are tweets used to gather the information for this article.