Top Stories

HBO’s Real Sports to air report on claims of racial discrimination at Chivas USA

Chivas USA Starting Lineup


The ongoing discrimination controversy surrounding Chivas USA will be brought to more light in mainstream sports media tonight at 10pm, when HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” airs its report on the issue.

In this month’s episode of the popular news magazine, reporter Soledad O’Brien talks to former and current club members on the claims of racial discrimination against those not of Mexican or Mexican-American descent.

O’Brien talks with former Chivas USA Academy coaches Teddy Chronopoulos and Dan Calichman, who recently filed a lawsuit against the club. Other interviewees include former defender James Riley and current Director of Soccer Paco Palencia.

“Real Sports” has posted a minute-long preview clip of the report, which will premiere tonight at 10 p.m. ET. Here is the preview:


What do you think of this development? Plan on watching the show? See Chivas USA being punished for these practices?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I’ve been tracking this story because I happen to know one of the people involved personally. Remember, the lawsuit being brought against CDC-USA is being brought by two coaches in the Chivas youth academy system. NOT players. Coaches. If James Riley or any other current or former CDC-USA player is involved in this or any other suit against the club, this is new.

    Both men were fired recently after long periods of service with the club. Both men have extensive coaching histories in Southern California, including youth, club, college, and pro. And – direct quote from one of these two men – “we really didn’t want to do this.”

    Here’s the link, from the FRONT PAGE of the NY Times three weeks ago:

  2. Eugene, stop defending the organization that fired you for being white! No one understands why you still support a club that fired you. What CUSA has done is in no way “positive.”

  3. if CUSA signed Kenyi Adachi, William Yarbrough, Hiram Mier, David Arvidsson, Van Rankin, Jurgen Damm and Emilio Omam-Biyik (all mexican players from different “ethnic” backgrounds) would you keep calling them racist?

  4. F’ing cry babies. Welcome to the real world. I haven’t gotten a job or interview because I’m Mexican. Feels bad to be on the other side huh?

      • I didn’t get a the job because I’m purple mixed with royal blue… 🙁 .. On a serious note, Chivas is all about making that money guys… A WASP isn’t going to sell tickets, sadly that is the reality and the belief in the Chivas organization. If Chivas was located in Montana or North Dakota, then it would be a whole different ball game. The reality is, Chivas is dedicated to the Latin crowd rather than the wasp crowd who are still the minority when we’re talking about futbol. Sure it sucks, but Corporates are not about skin color or religious beliefs,.. it’s about the money.

        The Mexican NT sells out anywhere they play in the U.S for most part. All about the mula

    • Ken, I can’t honestly say that I’ve never gotten a job because of my race or ethnicity. I’ve had it incredibly easy compared to my parents who grew up being told where they could go or not go based on segregation and other discriminatory practices. The stuff that has happened to me–even when it involved some incredibly week excuses for be stopped by the police were nothing more than infuriating annoyances that were resolvedquickl and painlessly.

      Not putting you down, Brother you put it out here for discussion (and I appreciate the fact that you did):

      If someone definitely NOT be cool with what is alledge (key word) to be taking place–it kinda seems like someone who has suffered personally–such as yourself–would be that kind of guy. Because, even you obvioulsly didn’t let it be a defining moment in your life, you know what an injustice it is to have been denied employment based on your DNA and not what you can bring to an organization.

      All that I’m really saying is that just becaused something unjust happened to you and me, does it make it all right if it happens to someone else?

      Only you can answer for you but for me–my own answer is a quick and easy “no”. I don’t want for anyone else to have to go through an injustice just because it’s happened to me or someone that I care about or know.

      A lot of shady stuff sometimes happens in the “Real World” but that doesn’t make it right.

  5. When has this program or any on HBO or mainstream sports TV jumped in to say something positive about MLS? Yet they jump in right away once something controversial happens where they can portray Chivas USA in a negative light? Sickening.

    When did HBO ever air a piece on why Mexican-Americans were having a hard time getting the US national team? No, that wasn’t worth talking about.

    James Riley is a mediocre player, plain and simple. Chivas USA retained some non-Mexican or Mexican-American talent. Riley has done ZERO since going to DCU other than bring that organization down, or aid in them having a bad year.

    I think what Chivas USA was trying to do was very positive for soccer in this country and MLS — really bringing north the Mexican-style of running a pro-soccer franchise and Mexican-style of playing. It was working well at the beginning and then the process came apart, but I don’t think it was a bad idea at all.

    • Wasn’t it only working well when Bob Bradley and Preki were coaches? When Ante Razov, Sacha Kljestan, and Brad Guzan played?

    • Yeah because there was so much mexican-American talent back then right? I mean that’s why they were lighting it up in europe. Even now there are no mexican Americans playing at a high level in europe. Not a single one. Get off your high horse, being mexican doesn’t make you a better player. You got to earn it like everyone else.

  6. There may or may not be any truth to Riley’s claims but it’s a perfectly reasonable assumption that Riley was traded because……he is not a very good player?

    As far as I know, Chivas USA youth coaches are not all Mexican or Mexican-American.

    Frankly, I don’t think Riley and co have much of a case.

  7. You can find the answer to the charge of racial discrimination on the far right of the team photo, the player wearing “7” on his shorts. His name is Tristan Bowen, he starts regularly at forward and he’s African-American. To my knowledge, he has no Latino ancestry.

    Most of the players dumped had fairly large contracts and haven’t really succeeded elsewhere. Two of the biggest names, Riley and Danny Califf, couldn’t start consistently with two of the worst teams in MLS.

    Chivas USA’s problem isn’t racial discrimination as much as it is mass stupidity. Management made trades and got very little in return. Vergara stripped the front office bare and runs the whole organization on the cheap.

    Frankly, I think Vergara is using Chivas USA as a tax write-off. The IRS and its Mexican equivalent should start investigating this guy.

    • I wonder how far that would go since Boca is of Mexican-American heritage. I think they’re only salvation may be Dan Kennedy AKA Token.

      • I doubt Chivas USA signed Bocanegra to avoid a lawsuit. Chivas USA has no good defenders, outside of Kennedy. The signing benefits everyone involved. Bocanegra gets to play so he can have a chance to make the 2014 World Cup team (assuming the U.S. qualifies). Chivas USA, a team that has been leaking goals all season, gets a quality defender.

  8. Quite ironic that MLS has a ” Don’t cross the line ” Anti- discriminatory campaign and yet one of their clubs is being sued for discrimination

  9. They should have just discriminated against white, American males. Everyone knows they’re vile, evil monsters responsible for most of the world’s problems. Viva La Raza! Expect more of this as we become a more multicultural society. But the age of white guilt will probably not continue for too much longer. People are getting tired of the double standards and shaming tactics.

    • Certainly posts like this would lead anyone to guess that white guys are the biggest freaking crybabies in the history of the planet. Look, I’m whiter than mayonnaise on wonder bread. Whiny crap like the above is just sad and embarrassing.

      As for the goats and MLS, did they genuinely not realize that it’s illegal to restrict employment opportunities on the basis of ethnicity under US law? I know Chivas’ thing in Mexico is having all Mexican players. Evidently that’s perfectly legal under Mexican law. But, you know, pants-wetting paranoid fantasies aside, Mexican law just doesn’t apply in LA.

      • Brilliant. And Godwin invoked after only one comment. An organization practices ethnic and racial discrimination and you think my perfectly reasonable and accurate observation belongs on a neo-Nazi website. Guess I better not challenge your big brain.

      • Clever bird. That’s such a unique word to describe modern America. It gets only 25 million hits on google.

      • I live in Texas. I hear all about it, all of the time. It’s not like I’m sitting in New England judging people. I hope that you can get over it. Demographics are not in your favor.

  10. In the Paco Palencia clip, he said they “only bring talent” to Chivas USA. What talent? Am I missing something. No, Kennedy doesn’t count because he was already there.

  11. What’s SAD is that

    1. Something many of us have suspected and seems to be TRUE.

    2. All the Soccer journalists in this country. All the bloggers (don’t really consider them
    journalists) and it takes a non-soccer show to actually bring it forth to everyone’s attention?

    The game in this country continues to make positive strides but this is one of the few negatives.
    We all have a responsibility on this one and if it is true then contact your club, the league, USSF and FIFA expressing your disgust et al. How in the H..L can any of you mention stamp out Racism and other “-ism” comments and campaigns if you don’t act on something in our own backyard?

    We’ll see what they have to say in the piece but if true…time to Act.

    • Ives has been covering this for quite some time. He has done a tremendous job, presenting nothing but he facts. No editorializing, so sermonizing, simply the facts.

      • Ives specifically said that he has no problem with what Chivas USA is doing and he said it more than once. The only thing he ever really reported on was that the team was going to suck, and clearly he was right.

  12. “Punish Chivas USA?” yeah, right- as long as Vergara owns this club, $ will always go further in MLS than what is right or deserved. Besides, how could The Don possibly do anything worse than what they’ve already done to themselves…

  13. time to break the ice……..will this be the tip of the iceberg and help MLS get rid of this team. Bring in the NASL Aztecs or MLS Aztecs. If i was Becks or some rich head, i would put a 15 to 20 seat stadium around beverly hills, bel air, santa monica and the other rich communities, and that would be a real LA wealthy club.What happen to Hollywood fc?

    • Here’s the question I have. Can MLS realistic get rid of Chivas? Everyone is saying time to disband it or move it or force them to sell? However how realistic is that? If legally they do force them to sell is that the kind of precedent you want to set? Might not look good for future owners or investors. What’s next hey NE and DC if you don’t get a SSS by 2018 you have to sell your team or move? I’m just saying…trust me I’m not a Chivas fan and feel it’s one big black eye on the league.

      • MLS can actually give them a timetable, on everything. Like marketing, bringing real dps to LA, maybe a rebrand and the list goes on but let me say that vergara the owner of chivas Mexico and USA, is a hated man in Mexico, due to his bad ownership decisions and skills. Vergara is a business man and not soccer fan, which is odd in Mexico and normal in America. Vergara owns a Gatorade type of company in Mexico and makes money worldwide and he even had a Costa Rica and Asian team, but now only has chivas Guadalajara and USA. As for dc, I have more trust in dc to get a new SSS before New England, given that the district actually wants united and Boston is dream rather than reality to revolution fans. But like I have I said before, once MLS hits 20, expect garber to really start banging his fist on teams who have stayed behind, because MLS 3.0 is coming fast at us. You got Miami and Orlando making MLS a 22 team league, while teams like dc,new England, Columbus,chivas USA are struggling with MLS parity. By the I’m surprised at fc Dallas how they have gotten better at the gates and player recruiting, now they need a roof at fc oven Dallas stadium.

      • Not a Gatorade type of company.

        A simple street salesman who worked and later stole the Herbalife concept and started producing “pills and potions” in Guadalajara as “miracle health products” and establishing a pyramid scheme called OMNILIFE.

        We know because there was a groundwork distribution and marketing effort made all over Texas back in the 80’s and 90’s.

        Those products, including the so called drinks, are now know for what they are: simple scam.

        Vergara might be the most hated man in the Mexican sports circles and is constantly referred by the Mexican Media as “Guicho Dominguez” after a maligned TV comedy character made famous on the Televisa network.

    • There absolutely could be lawsuits filed. Whether they stick or not is a different story.

      MLS’ liability (if any) will likely depend on its level of control over the Chivas organization. Now, if MLS is found to have sufficient control over Chivas USA’s operations, ultimately, a very strong argument can be made that MLS ratified Chivas’ behavior and was complicit in the discrimination.

      This will be an interesting story to follow.

      • MLS is a single entity (they have made no secret of that being a strength) and as such Chivas USA is nothing but the equivalent of a department. Clearly a company cannot say “overall we do not discriminate, but only people with Mexican heritage can work in our accounting department”.

      • Single Entity could also absolve MLS of any liability. “We didn’t fire players because they weren’t hispanic, we reassigned them within our entity to a different department (team.) “

      • Just to give everyone a flavor for what you have to prove in these types of cases, the players who brought the suit will have to establish what’s called “prima facie” evidence of ethnic or racial discrimination by Chivas USA. This could be statements made by Chivas USA management to the effect of “we’re interested in promoting Mexican players” coupled with adverse employment decisions such as benching a regular starter who’s non-Mexican, trading away non-Mexican players, or other types of actions. Based on the news reports, I’d say a prima facie case can easily be established.

        Then, Chivas USA will have the opportunity to argue that the adverse employment decisions were the result of a “legitimate nondiscriminatory purpose.” For example, many discriminatory suits are brought by employees who have been “down-sized” and believe that they were fired because of race. If the company can show they were actually fired because business has been bad and they needed to let employees go, the suit can be dismissed.

        My guess is that Chivas USA will claim that it never intended to discriminate based on ethnicity, but rather “soccer style”. They’ll say that they were looking for a Latin American style of player to promote the Chivas brand and the suing players did not represent that type of player. It’s an interesting argument, although I doubt a judge will be convinced.

        The players will then have the opportunity to show that the “legitimate nondiscriminatory purpose” was actually just pretext for taking a discriminatory act. That’s when the case gets interesting, because a lot will depend on what the coaching staff said to the players about why they were traded.

        I think Dinho is right as to MLS’s potential liability, because I think the court would view Chivas USA as a franchise. The corporate parent of a franchise can only be held liable if the discriminatory acts of its franchisees occurred either because of (1) overt control over the franchise’s personnel decisions or (2) a discriminatory set of policies that the franchisees are forced to adopt in order to be a franchise. Definitely no to 2, and I really doubt Garber would been involved in the day-to-day management of personnel at Chivas USA.

        If Chivas hadn’t been so obvious in promoting Mexican players, they could probably have avoided this suit. I’m always amazed when corporations take actions that, if they had spent an hour with their in-house counsel, they would have realized were incredibly stupid.

  14. I am not a law expert by any means but I believe there is a difference between preferring to have players of a certain heritage or background and discrimination of employees or players who do not fit the criteria they want. MLS will have to do some investigating in order to figure out if Chivas crossed the line between trying to cater to Latinos a bit or they were practicing outright discrimination.

    On a larger note really think that MLS needs to get rid of this embarrassment of a franchise, they have added nothing to the league and are terribly run. We do not need our teams being direct feeder clubs to other bigger clubs abroad.

    • Either is classic employment discrimination. Even showing that the effect of the practice is to get more mexican-americans is discrimination.

    • I’m not a lawyer, but I have dealt with discrimination suits (from the employer liability side). So I’ve got a bit of experience here.
      Let me be clear, there’s no such thing as “prefering players of a certain heritage or background.” If the employees were unable to obtain a job with Chivas USA solely because of their race, or were prevented from certain benefits within that job because of it (getting on the senior team, regularly playing, etc), and have PROOF… it’s an open and shut case. Not even close. In fact, Chivas would most likely settle long before it went to trial. The law doesn’t take into account who Chivas “preferred” to hire, they only care about who was excluded.

  15. Did MLS somehow not see this coming? I seem to remember comments from Garber saying that he and MLS support what Chivas USA is doing… I bet he wishes he could take that back.

    • Yep. He did then later backed off his support earlier this year. Garber was naive in thinking people wouldn’t see Chivas’ policies as discriminatory

    • Garber was too busy trying to get YSA to stop from the supporters, because it was clearly the issue with MLS moving forward.

      • YSA is pretty juvenile, we aren’t Mexico with their ‘puto’ chant so just give it up and chalk it up as an arcane relic of the NASL, USL, whatever days.

        My guess is that you are just using it comparatively, but if you are being serious then you are just grasping at straws.

  16. They are certainly catering to Mexican-American community, not sure if they are dropping quality players just based purely on race…doesn’t sound like good business no matter how cynical I am about their organization. Though something tells me that lots of people want this story to be true.

    • See this is what I don’t understand…why in the HECK would they name the team CHIVAS USA and use that branding? Yes, they are trying to cater to Mexican Americans but if I live in LA and I am a fan of Club America, Monterrey, etc. there’s no way I would support CHIVAS USA. It’s just ridiculous.

      It’s like with NYCFC. They say, “No, we are not going to be Manchester City USA.” but they are using the exact same colors. (Not as bad as Chivas using the same everything but still a little suspect…)

      • Is there something you know that the rest of us don’t? They have said they were thinking of using the light blue color for their jersey but they haven’t made any official announcements. NY City FC is hardly Chivas USA….and even if it were…..what is Man City’s track record? Splash a ton of cash and bring stars to the club and essentially buy, buy and keep buying players until you win your first league championship?

      • Reyna said they were using the same colors.

        I’m not saying Chivas USA=NYCFC. I’m saying it’s ridiculous for a team in another league to come to MLS and try to set up a similar brand. It alienates fans, plain and simple. If you are a fan of ManU, Liverpool, etc are you going to get behind a ManCity Jr?

        I hope ManCity/NYYankees brand NYCFC differently than Chivas de Guadalajara did with Chivas USA. But, like I said, using the same colors as ManCity doesn’t help differentiate themselves.

      • Indeed, Reyna said they’re using the same colors. The Ownership of ManC will be involved in soccer operations of NYC. Even ‘partnered’ with the Yankees, I don’t see how this helps the team. If you’re a Mets fan, you won’t want to like a team profiting your rival Yanks. Man U fans will say kiss off to a Blue Side invasion.

        Not to mention, Man City’s owner has this nice history of ties to human rights violations. How does that work with MLS’ ‘Don’t Cross the Line’ campaign?

        Well, honestly, worse than this even. And there’s fire in the Chivas camp, IMHO. From where I sit, it’s a pretty open & shut discrimination suit, given the ownership’s statements.

  17. Well, on the plus side, at least HBO sent a real investigative reporter who at least is not an old white male windbag from another century (I’m looking in your directions, Frank & Bernie).

  18. I think Chivas is Toast. In situations like this you (Chivas org) are guilty until you prove your innocent. Frankly I hope they get a tremendous fine and big settlements for the effected players and coaches.

  19. I thought that chivas usa made it public last year that they were going to cater to mexicans or latin americans to maintain a consistency with their mother club in mexico. I’m surprised this issue took this long to become an issue in MLS

    • They did. Then someone reminded them of the 14th Amendment.

      So they claimed it was a mistake of the interpreter. Then they turned around and did this.

      Chivas is a disaster. It should’ve been relocated a half-decade ago. It’s been giving the League a black eye longer than that. Really, any marketing advantage the Mexican club gave died long ago. And yet, this was not a warning with regards to the Man City/NYC experiment.


  20. Just another example of Mexican nationalism. This translates to becoming effectively racism when, as is the case here, the people discriminated against are all non-Mexicans and therefore black, white or other. There is no way in hades that an American sports franchise should be allowed to do this. It takes us back to the 1950’s. This should have been snuffed out years ago, at the first sign of it. Just think of the furor if Mexico City had a baseball team and the coach only picked people of Polish extraction.

    • Understand your point. But it is important to acknowledge teams do this ALL THE TIME on an individual player basis. Chivas is just guilty of having the onions to try to it on a organizational-wide basis.

      There are plenty examples in all leagues of choosing players for their appeal to a local market. For instance, many MLB teams stated publicly they wanted Japanese players to appeal to the local population.

      If you want to keep it specific to soccer, I know the St. Louis Stars (NASL) and the St. Louis Steamers (MISL) had a stated preference for local players. Now if the only discrimination you care about is it effects the big three (racial, sexual or religious) than this is no big deal. But the fact remains that certain players did not get a job because they were not born in the right town.

      Again, the greatest sin is they did it on an organization-wide basis. From what I understand, you couldn’t wash a dirty jock if you weren’t Spanish.

      • Not being born in the right town is something completely different to race, religion, orientation, etc.

        And, to seek out a “token” (for lack of a better term) to appeal to the local fans is also different than excluding entire races, etc.

        I wonder what Dan Kennedy thinks about all this.

      • In a true meritocracy, the best are rewarded: fine.

        If the results suggest a “token” is needed, than the playing field is un-leveled to meet that quota: fine.

        If someone thinks they can run a business better (appeal to a local community) with a team full of “tokens”: not fine.

        Maybe the Owners of Chivas are huge racists. But maybe they thought a large portion of the LA community was being ignored by the Gals (racist?). Maybe they thought this was unfair and wanted to do something about it, maybe even make a profit in the process.

        Devil’s advocate here: but we might be labeling a racist, those trying to right a racial wrong.

      • I feel sorry for Dan Kennedy because Chivas will say, “Look at our goalkeeper, he isn’t Mexican/Mexican-American!!!!” Dan Kennedy will probably be dragged into this and have to answer questions. Sucks for him.

      • I’m guessing Dan Kennedy’s thinking “great, now I’m stuck here as the token white guy. I’m never gonna get out of this mess!”

      • P.S. we all know what you meant, but being Spanish is different than being Mexican. Same language, different countries.

      • Spaniards if you refer to persons born in Spain.

        Spanish if you refer to language spoken in Spain or Latin American countries ( except Brazil).

        Mexican if you refer to person born in Mexico.

        Hispanic or Latino if you refer to people born in the US with parents or former generations born in any Latin American country. Wonder if people from Spain or Portugal consider themselves Latinos.

      • I would add If you are from the Americas and from a Spanish or Portuguese speaking country you are Latino/Latina. I can’t stand when people refer to themselves as Spanish and they are not from Spain

      • I definitely agree edmondo. It really irks me when my Hispanic friends say that. Is it too hard to say latin, latino or hispanic?

      • This! I completely agree. Let’s chalk it up to ignorance I suppose. Both Hispanics and non-Hispanics do it and it’s inaccurate.

      • the casual observer will equate soccer in the U.S. with Mexican players, Mexican sport. We don’t want to be labeled with any specific group of peoples. We want all of the U.S. sports fans.

        Bad Press.

      • Perhaps, but Chivas USA is one franchise. Viewers may also notice the other 18 teams that aren’t being sued…

      • Lots of casual observers latch on to the players of European descent as well. I’ve always been a little disgusted with Chivas USA. No problem with Mexican ownership of clubs, but this one basically looks like a farm team for the larger club in Mexico, in terms of branding. For the record, I wouldn’t like to see the Ohio Arsenal or Bayern Minneapolis either.

        If it’s a separate business venture give it its own identity. That said, the allegations surprise me. I would have expected the people to know it before coming on board, and to keep their mouths quiet about it. Unless they’re drafted and don’t have much choice.

      • Agree. But if they wanted to do a soccer story, there’s this juicy FIFA thing out there that could always use some more disinfectant.

        Journalistically, it really is the gift that keeps on giving.

      • I don’t think this will generate that much press…
        very doubtful the news media picks this up.
        doubtful the “mainstream” sports media picks this up.

        for example, i bet tomorrow on espn the stories will be:

        a-rod, yankees, a-rod, ryan braun, lebron james, tiger lost the british open, random nfl player gets arrested, ryan braun, dwight howard, rgIII, who’s the best qb?

        maybe bob ley can squeeze a story in there about chivas usa.

      • meanwhile, sports radio in LA, where Chivas plays, will go something like this:

        Ryan Braun

    • If by “do something” you mean get Chivas out of MLS, then I certainly agree. It’s a shame that a team like Orlando is kept out of MLS, while this clown club gets to stay and keep on discriminating.

      • +1.

        The Chivas experiment was a failure. The whole “Mexican” angle the MLS had hoped for in it’s inception didn’t pan out the way they hoped.

      • Orlando isn’t “kept out” of the MLS. When they build a 20K seat SSS and pony up the $100 million entry fee I’d imagine Don Garber and the other owners will welcome them with open arms.

        That being said, Chivas USA is a joke and should be relocated/rebranded or just folded.

      • Would you be so kind as to point out the NYCFC 20 thousand seat soccer-specific stadium? I’ve been looking for it on google maps…

    • It all depends how HBO portrays Chivas and the league. If they make it clear that Chivas is a lone wolf (lone goat?) and the MLS was not complicit in the dubious personnel moves, then I don’t think it’ll be bad for the league. How, exactly, anyone can argue MLS was not complicit, I do not know.

      • Exactly. MLS owning player contracts and not stepping in when the moves in question happened essentially makes them complicit (even if just from a PR perspective).

        The Don is going to have to decide whether the headaches that Chivas USA bring the league are worth whatever money they generate from that franchise.

      • actually not only were they the first profitable club they were for a while. All had to do with their tv deal and programming set up

      • And now they’re the only MLS team without a local tv deal. So there’s that. You could also say RSL used to not make money. It doesn’t reflect the current climate in MLS.

    • How often is there a news documentary story on MLS? Stories about Messi on 60 minutes, stories on racial discrimination, or stories on politics, sports, and WC are abundant, but rarely MLS. MLS should take what it can get.

      Also, if there was a racial discrimination charge with any major corporation, sports team, or any other organization in the US it would garner national spotlight. This story needs the media to shed some light on this and force Chivas to change or Garber to step in.


Leave a Comment