Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Former Philadelphia Union coach Peter Nowak is suing his former club for wrongful termination and unpaid severance money. He was fired last month after he led the team to a string of losses and alienated the fan base by getting rid of fan favourite Sebastian Le Toux and team captain Danny Califf.
Philly.com reporter Jonathan Tannenwald took a deep dive into the court documents, and there are some truly shocking revelations.
Tannenwald reports Nowak had the opportunity to sign a separation agreement and be paid severance. Otherwise, a letter would be released detailing why he was being fired “for cause”, and no severance would be paid.
He declined the offer. This is an excerpt of that letter detailing the alleged reasons for Nowak’s dismissal:
1. various material breaches of League Rules (including the League’s Collective Bargaining Agreement), including physical confrontations with players and officials during a Team game resulting in a fine and multi-game suspension, interfering with the rights of Team players to contact the players’ union with concerns, subjecting Team players to inappropriate hazing activities and engaging in behaviour that put the health and safety of Team players at risk.
2. material breaches of the Employment Agreement, including engaging in discussions regarding, and otherwise actively seeking, employment by other professional soccer teams in Europe and making disparaging remarks to third parties regarding Club, its management and its ownership.
3. demonstrating gross negligence, including putting the health and safety of Team players at risk by requiring injured players to participate in strenuous training activities, not allowing players to have water during such activities despite temperatures in excess of 80 degrees, ignoring the advice of the head athletic trainer regarding which players are healthy enough to play in games and participate in training sessions and creating an atmosphere where medical issues should be hid from medical staff and not treated.
4. committing actions that have reflected in a materially adverse manner on the integrity, reputation and goodwill of Club and the Team (in the eyes of the League, U.S. Soccer, current and potential Team players, sponsors and fans), including the unusually harsh treatment of players described above, actions during Team games that have resulted in fines and suspensions, the multiple breaches of League Rules and a discussion (by you or your agent on your behalf) with the head of U.S. Soccer that was in very poor taste and left a very bad impression with U.S. Soccer.
5. multiple incidents of insubordination with respect to the Club’s Chief Executive Officer, including claiming at one point (in direct contradiction to the terms of the Employment Agreement) that he does not report to the Club’s Chief Executive Officer.
6. various material breaches of Team Rules, including creating a hostile work environment and culture of fear for Team players and other front office employees by orally berating and physically intimidating fellow employees.
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