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.

Or

2)    Agree with the grievance and he will pull the plug on our team and the season is over.

Side note:

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.

Chicago:

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.

Florida:

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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(25) Readers Comments

  1. I would say keep your head up, Ella, but it sounds like you’re already holding it up high, and with every right. Everyone needed to hear this, and you had the guts to say it.

  2. I have the utmost respect for you. I am so completely sorry that you had to go through that.

  3. Wow, I don’t even know how to respond to this. The fact that those players backed Dan, back then, made me so angry but now I understand why they did. I have SO much respect for Masar for doing what she did and it is the reason why I look up to most of these women, because they are strong and independent. On the flip side, I almost questioning all the other players on magicjack because I have no idea why you would rat out a teammate or listen to a sick freak who makes you call him daddy. I really hope other players follow this example and get their stories out. I believe that the fans deserve to know the WHOLE story, from everyone’s point of view. I think WPS and magicjack owe us that.

  4. Unfortunately Ella, we at Riptide never had the pleasure of cheering for you. If we ever get the chance to give you an ovation here in Boston, you will get it.

  5. Wow. The more that comes out about the WPS situation and MagicJack, the more it makes me wonder how everything did not totally collapse earlier. I think many people just thought Dan was a really strange guy, but that others were happy about the success of the team and league, especially after the world cup.

    You’re really brave for coming out and telling fans of the dark side of what went on. Keep speaking out! There is no excuse for female athletes to be treated poorly. The more that is revealed, the more people can learn from the mistakes.

    I never understood how one rogue character could run away with a team, let alone a league. Was there no players union for protection? Was WPS just organized poorly and not prepared to deal with a one in a million situation?

    It was really wonderful and inspiring to see all of you play last season. I am really going to miss it this summer.

    Keep at it! Best of luck in all your future endeavors.

  6. Ella. You are the ONLY player who had the courage to stand up to that vicious, psychotic prick Dan Borislow. You are the bravest woman on that team. What happened to Amy Wambach? What happened to Hope? They have no backbone. They kept taking Dan’s money and ignoring the truth about what a motherf&#&^% scum of the earth Dan Borislow is. They supposedly are brave, yet remained silent. People like him eventually have their negative karma come back and bite them in the ass at some point in their lives. Hopefully, the same will happen to that prick. Again, you are the bravest on that team.. Your “superstars” showed their true colors, and ignored the mistreatment. Being treated like that is neglect, spitefull and frankly you probably can sue his ass if you would like to. He intentionally kept you from getting medical treatment. Ella, bite him back in the ass and hire a lawyer. You have plenty of witnesses (locker room). Sue that scumbag piece crap.

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  8. Abby Wambach 29 Nov:

    “I am looking into buying property on a lake, it’s gotta be nearish to a city. Any ideas people? I’m up for wherever too.”

  9. Wow Ella. I am so sorry that you and your teamates went thru thisHe!! with magicjerkDan.I am glad tht you spoke out about what was really going on ( many of the fans suspected this). Please know that as a fan woh has seen you play in DC,Philly and Chicago, you are a great soccer player and deserve better. I wish you and all of the players the best for the future.

  10. What a nightmare. I really hope more players come out and tell their stories because I’m sure there are other horror stories having to do with Dan/MagicJack.

    All the best to you, Ella.

  11. Absolutely incredible…not only that this lowlife was allowed to operate a team in such an inept manner or that he could treat the players the way he did, but that the so-called “stars” of the team stood by and let it happen. Where was the great Abby Wambach? Where was Hope Solo? Where were any of the national team players? They are absolute cowards and the sooner they’re gone the better. We can only hope that the next generation of players representing this country will have a little more courage and care about someone other than themselves.

  12. This Borislow stuff is odd. (and not that surprising)

    It reminds me of one of those sexual harassment cases.
    Where some guy is harassing women in the workplace, but the situation is just murky enough that no one wants to be the first person to really put their foot down, and possibly put people’s jobs at risk.
    But that is exactly what is needed sometimes…

  13. #10, Hope Solo was gone from the team after the World Cup. She never really did come back. Now we understand what kind of horrible situation she was dodging. As for the others, I don’t think anyone who wasn’t there can really judge the actions of the players. We can certainly judge the actions of the boss, though…

  14. From what Ella writes, her experience with MagicJack was terrible and nightmarish for her. It is unfortunate she went through that if all the facts as she writes are completely valid and true. However, what is even more unfortunate is how someone, a player, basically can cast negative generalizations in a blog without being specific against other players and then have fans jump to conclusions without any actual facts and crucify other players. I wouldn’t want any of you people on my jury!

    Calling players lowlifes and cowards? Saying they have no backbone? Without any hard facts? Or supporting evidence other than someone’s blog? That’s harsh and a sad representation of an educated fan base.

    I don’t know what went down in FL, but I’d venture a guess the whole issue has many layers, may be even more complicated than thought and will take some time to sort out. Jumping to criticisms and calling for other players heads without more details is extremely premature.

  15. Pingback: WPS player’s blog post damning to Dan Borislow | Devo's Direct Kicks | Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

  16. First of all, I don’t think we should be faulting Hope. She says she wasn’t there post-WC and to be honest, she would not put up with this BS, I just can’t see it happening. And I also agree that we can’t necessarily fault Abby Wambach either until we hear the full story, however when she was made coach, ANYONE who followed WPS knows that it became absolutely apparent she wasn’t playing Masar. There were games where you could just see the frustration on the poor girl’s face, not getting the start, fine, but even when they were down 1 or 2 goals, she wouldn’t get the sub in. If you’ve seen her play, you know Ella Masar is an attacking threat, she’s a forward, she scores goals..and does it well, as a matter of fact. Why are you not playing one of your best forwards in a game where you are down by a goal? Dan wasn’t in charge at those games and if he left you in charge, you are the one who can make those decisions about who to start and sub in. I’m not saying to pass judgment on Abby for the other stuff because we don’t know, but she did say in interviews she had full control of the sub process during that time she was left in charge of MJ, so I think it was absolutely cold and shameful of her not to play Masar and that is something that I think can and will be blamed on Abby.

    It’s hard to stomach the fact that someone who is such a hero is maybe not the person you thought she was, but it happens and it won’t be the first time. I will wait until hearing the full story to pass complete judgment because I think that’s fair, but I will say that Abby Wambach is looking real suspect as of right now and it’s really sad that she didn’t foresee this as being such a PR disaster and handle it better. Especially with the Olympics coming up, this disunity in the women’s soccer world is incredibly disheartening and I pray it can be resolved so we can all go back to appreciating these women not only as remarkable athletes but also as wonderful human beings. By stepping up and writing something so truthful and difficult, no doubt losing friends along the way, Ella Masar is showing why she might be a better role model than some of these superstars ever could be.

  17. There’s a special level of hell reserved for people like Borislow.

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  19. Big respect to Ella. Sorry you had to go trough this. But I’m happy to see you in France right now and having a good time there.

  20. I would love to show borislow where to shove his magic jack

  21. Dan Borislow may have destroyed WPS.

  22. It is pretty shocking to see some of the comments correspondances from Dan to the league and to his players. He comes off like a narcasstic child that has never heard “no” in his life. Hat’s off to Ella for stepping up and saying her piece. I’ve had the pleassure of seeing her play both in College and in the WPS and she is one of those players who always gives more than 100% and there is always an excitement and spark when she has the ball. After a game where she was hurt and had to come off of the pitch, she still spent an hour after the game signing autographs and took pictures with my Children. I’m sorry she had to put up with such a bad owner and wish her all the best in France!

  23. The business world is full of manipulative egocentric greedy assholes .. and they like to play games with people. People with principles tend to be their preferred victims – And yes, there are plenty of other people willing to kiss their ass to remain on their good side. -

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