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Union accuse Nowak of hazing, negligence in defense of termination

Nowak (Getty Images)

The details of the Philadelphia Union's defense against Peter Nowak have emerged in the ongoing lawsuit between the two parties, and the Union's claims shed light on some disturbing behind-the-scenes happenings under his watch.

As part of the Union's list of reasons for dismissal, the details of which were uncovered by, the club alleges that Nowak violated team rules, engaging in "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 behavior that put the health and safety of Team players at risk."

The team's letter also says that he demonstrated "gross negligence" when it came to the health and safety of his players, withholding water from players during training sessions, ignoring advice from the team's trainer while concealing medical issues from the club's medical staff.

Nowak is suing the club for wrongful termination and for not being paid severance money that he claims he is legally owed. He was under contract until after the 2015 season.

What do you think of this development?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Novak started there with such promise and it all seemed to disintegrate in like 3 weeks. I wonder if he knew he was going to get canned so he took preemptive spite by trading LeToux?

  2. I heard the same thing. He also didn’t allow the players to drink any water during these workouts either.

    Considering that this type of activity is in violation of the CBA concerning player safety, this (along with his publicized pursuit of the Hearts job) was his ultimate undoing.

  3. those are some good points you are making. The Philly news story says: “Nowak’s original contract was signed on June 1, 2009, with an expiration date of December 31, 2012. Nowak agreed to a contract extension on December 20, 2011, which changed the expiration date to December 31, 2015.”

    In other words, after 2 1/2 years as coach the Union was so happy with Nowak that they rewarded him with a 3-year contract extension and a big raise and a second job title–and then six months later… It will be interesting to hear the comparison of Nowak before December 20, 2011, and after.

  4. The safety of players was evident with first 2 practices after Toronto loss. He took players on hilly forest trails and did following workout in humid conditions. Run 1 mile rest 2 min, run 2 miles rest 2 min, run 3 miles rest 2min, run 3 miles rest 2min, run 2 miles rest 2 min, run 1 mile.

    Did same workout next day. Said games are 90 minutes you should be able to do this.

  5. The Union should file a lawsuit against Novak for his buffoonery as manager of this team. In the end, the players hated him, the fans hated him, and finally the team owners & upper management hated him. What took them so long?

  6. some serious dough –looks like around 1.3 mill — is at play in this one. The union well knew when it tried to fire Novack “for cause” and thus deprive him of comp. through 2015, that Novack would hire an attorney and litigate: any rational actor would for those $$. whether certain conduct constitues “cause” under a contract, is inherently wishy washy, and gets litigated all the time. Given the $$ involved, the union and novack will likely go at it for a while before probly settling somewhere in the middle. To prevail, the union will have to provide evidence and more specific detail around their allegations that Novack did bad things, justifying the for cause termination — could be fun. Here’s hoping for live testimony from Adu..

  7. Nowak is a stubborn son of a gun, he believe that you do it his way or not at all.

    I think this has the potential to get ugly and not reflect well on the league.

  8. love, love, love, love the photo. “TALK TO THE HAND!” haha. Probably totally an innocent moment, but in the context of the story, this pic is priceless.

  9. Nowak has really screwed himself by fighting the Union – there’s no chance any other team in MLS will ever hire him again as their coach. Time to head back to Poland (or Scotland – what’s left of it.)

  10. It had nothing to do with state law if I read it right. The contract said he’s entitled to severance pay unless he’s terminated for cause. I don’t know of any state law that requires such a contract stipulation.

  11. this story will just get uglier. from peter’s side, he will not get another job in the US. Why did the union let it go so far.

    The firing game out of nowhere, so there is a feeling of truth to it. why hasn’t the players union said anything yet though. the play on the field and some of what has been said by former players lend belief to it in my mind.

    This is just going to get real interesting.

  12. That’s why states that require termination for cause are problematic. That is the (maybe) one good thing about California’s laws.

  13. what an idiot.

    he should have just signed the release and taken his severance pay.

    one of a long line of errors of judgment Nowak made this year.

    all the dirt on him is going to come out in discovery. he’s gonna be radioactive no club will go near him after this.

  14. HR type lawsuits tend to get ugly, when facts come out – real or fabricated. Cause it’s personal.

    For this one, the Union’s claims seems outrageous enough to have a ring of truth. You cant make this stuff up.

  15. Wow! This is taking a real Judge Judy turn! Can’t wait to see how this unfolds. I’m starting to get concerned with the running of the Union though after this AND the allegations of unpaid taxes by the city. It’s probably nothing, but things are starting to mount up against the Union.


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