By Ella Masar
Yesterday I tweeted this:
Hard news to hear today about WPS. If we only knew last off-season what we knew today. Pride is a dangerous weapon
And then someone responded with this.
@emasar3 Yes, you should have said something while it was going on with Dan the man, you turned your back on your team mates. Pride? Are you feeling guilty you did not back your teammates that were being badly treated? By your paymaster?#money
I immediately became infuriated. How dare someone say that to me after my time spent there. Yet, after I calmed down, I realized I never really told my side of the story.
No more silence.
Now that my nose surgery is paid off and Dan has no grip on my career, I feel it is time for me to really speak and explain what just happened down in Florida with me.
You are going to have to bear with me, it can get confusing with the timeline, and I will try my best…
I remember it like it was yesterday.
It was mid July and we were all (MagicJack) sitting in our locker room. Dan had called a meeting to give us our options with the grievance being filed earlier in the week.
Of course, he did not show up. He just relayed his “dirty work” to some of the girls on the team and gave us two options:
1) Disagree with the grievance and tell the league that we stand by him.
2) Agree with the grievance and he will pull the plug on our team and the season is over.
At this point in time Dan was pointing a lot of fingers to different girls on the team to see who exactly started the grievance. Fortunately, for us, he had pissed off ONE too many girls and could not single anyone out. He sent one too many emails or said to the girls one too many times, call me “Daddy.” I wish I were kidding.
Some of us also asked the lawyers of the league what the worse case scenario would be if we did decide to stand up to Dan (finally). We were reassured that it would survive the remainder of the year. That is the ONLY reason that any of us would have sucked it up and stood by Dan. We refused to be the reason of ending someone else’s dream.
Even to this day, I still do not understand how there were mixed feelings about the grievance. Because we, as a team, had had numerous meetings about standing up to Dan and telling him how could not treat us the way he did. I am telling you, every SINGLE woman in that locker room (that day) had approached me at one point or another saying that they did not want to come back. That NO amount of money was worth being there.
Yet, when push came to shove and they were actually faced with this decision, somehow that all got lost in the background. Funny how that works…
Anyway, back on track.
So as we were sitting there facing our options, feeling that fear that Dan could pull the plug on us and collapse the league I raised my hand and said, I am sorry, I can’t stand by Dan, no matter what.
Not even 5 to 10 minutes later, I received a text saying I had two options.
“Go home and get your nose fixed or be traded.”
I read it out loud to the team and walked out of the locker room.
The next thing I knew I was on the beach crying my eyes out. Yes, I know, I can be dramatic but I can’t explain the feeling I had. So many questions arose; so many scenarios went through my mind, who had turned their back on me, on the team, who was the snitch. How could this happen? How could I be blamed for something he did, who betrayed me? I thought all I had done was stand up for my teammates and fight for what was right.
We were all on the same page; we all had decided to stand up against Dan yet there I sat alone. I am not saying that there were not girls that had my back, I am just saying it only takes one or two to whisper the right thing for things to take a turn for the worst.
After hours on the beach I went back to my apartment, packed up EVERYTHING and was on a flight back to Chicago the next morning.
Side note: My nose
A month earlier I suffered a kick in the nose. As soon as the game was over I knew that I needed to go get it checked out. I told our chiropractor because Dan did not believe in an Athletic trainer and he said he could not re set it.
He told Dan that I needed to go to the hospital, so Dan put me in his car and said we were going to the local hospital. Long story short, we never made it to the hospital. He took me to dinner with his “boys” and then I was with him for 2 more days until we met up with the girls in Atlantic City.
Why I never went, I still do not understand.
Then for the next month I was telling him I needed to get my nose checked out. When I went back to Chicago, for the world cup break, I made my own doctor’s appointment to see what exactly was wrong. The doctor told me that I needed surgery but she needed an MRI first to see the extent of the damage.
Well when I called Dan to tell him this, he said he didn’t want me to get one and to come back to Florida. That he would take care of me there. . . .. I NEVER got taken care of.
Only a month later, when I was “released, ” was I able to come home and set up an MRI appointment.
So. I fly back to Chicago the next day, and start to weight my options. After scrambling around finding an MRI, talking to two different doctors, I was told I definitely needed surgery because my left nostril had collapsed. However, after further discussion and with me explaining my situation the doc said she could give me a steroid to try to give me some relief and allow me to finish the season.
After lots of prayer, many conversations with my family, I told Dan I wanted to be traded. I was not going to let this man tell me my season was over. Not after everything I had been through down there. Western New York and Philly became very interested and both offered Dan trades.
Dan not only denied them both but also decided he wanted me back. Abby called me from the World Cup, the day before the finale asking me to come back, and Dan told me that he had made a mistake.
I still told them no…… well I did until the USA woman lost.
Throughout the season I had come pretty close to some of them. Dan was refusing to trade me and said that I was either done or could come back to Florida.
So, my heart, said you know what, some of these girls deserve a championship. I am going to do everything in my power to help them.
I land in Florida a week later.
The US girls are back, Abby is named our coach, and my hell starts.
I realize now that Dan never wanted me back to help the team. He wanted me back to make an example of me. To show everyone that he was in control.
I sat the bench for the next 6 weeks. I am, by no means, saying that the people on the field did not deserve to be there. I am just saying that I thought I at least deserved a chance to play. IF I didn’t start, pas grave, but as a forward I felt I deserved some/any minutes to play and help the team. I went from starting, playing every game to not a minute.
Tears still come to my eyes thinking of the nights of running behind the field after each game wondering why. Asking God how could any of this be fair, how could I be so blind? The pain of watching the thing I loved and worked so hard for be turned into a joke.
The bottom line is that I should have never gone back. I should never have let my heart make that decision to try to help the girls win and I paid dearly for it.
I lost some pretty good friends down in Magic Jack land and was tested beyond what I thought (then, not now) I could take. I saw some things that I will never forget and finally understood the dark side of money.
And I’ll tell you this . . .
If you asked me if I could have all the money, all the accolades, the biggest contracts, but turn into some of the people I experienced in my 2011 season. I would say NEVER in my life.
Because this is what I know.
Records are set to be broken. That’s why they were made. They were made because someone did something incredible but have no doubt, someone else will come along to set the bar just that much higher. It’s not the World Cup’s won, the goals scored, or your net worth that people remember in 10, 20, 30 plus years, its YOU.
It’s what YOU stood for; it’s YOUR legacy. Your heart, your hard work, your integrity, your professionalism, and your dedication are what people will be able to tell their children NOT the dollar sign.
Throughout this whole experience I know that I kept my integrity. I, by no means, did what was right all the time but at the end of the day I know I stood for what I believed. That no amount of money, no amount of a bribe, or a poker chip could take me away from what I felt in my heart.
And Dan, I hope you are happy. Congratulations you won. You get to protect your “friends.” I just hope one day you can look back at and see this for what it was really worth.
Money can buy friendships but it can’t buy loyalty. I wish you could have seen what really happened and was said about you especially from those who you thought were on your side. Least you knew from the one’s you let go and myself the truth of what everyone else was saying.
I hope the money was worth it. . .
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