Piotr Nowak is the former head coach of the Philadelphia Union. If you don't know who he is, you will be learning a lot about him soon. He is currently involved in a lawsuit with his former employer claiming that he was wrongfully terminated.
Jonathan Tannewald is a reporter for Philly.com sports section mainly covering the Union. This evening he went through a set of documents submitted by the Union & Nowak as part of the case. There was a lot of stuff there. Nowark hazing players, forcing injured players to train with the team against doctor's orders, and looking for employment while with the team. While the first two are truly serious allegations, the last one is the focus of this post, as it involves Shep Messing, former GK of the New York Cosmos, and current analyst for New York Red Bulls TV broadcasts on MSG.
Shep gets a D.C. Championship Ring
Shep Messing and Peter Nowak have known each other for a while, which is perfectly fine. Their friendship actually goes back to before Nowak was with D.C. United during their 2004 MLS Cup run, so much that Nowak apparently got Shep Messing a championship ring from that year.
Shep Messing recommended Peter Nowak to Nick Sakiewicz, which I think was known. But this wasn't: pic.twitter.com/u37vq8qoZm— Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper) January 6, 2016
...Mr. Messing's advisor relationship was to a degree where Claimant believed it necessary to give Mr. Messing a championship ring after D.C. United won the MLS Championship.
Shep helps gets Nowak a job in Philly
Shep's friendship with Nowak extended past the former's days with D.C. He apparently helped Nowak to get his spot with the Union.
Peter Nowak's side offers its view of Nowak's relationship with Shep Messing: pic.twitter.com/I3catr67F7— Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper) January 6, 2016
Item: The Union paid U.S. Soccer $75,000 to buy Peter Nowak out of his contract as Olympic team coach and hire him in Philadelphia.— Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper) January 6, 2016
While Mr. Messing did not represent Mr. Nowak when he was with D.C. United, he said he was considered by himself and Mr. Nowak to be Mr. Nowak's "advisor." Mr. Messing then claimed that he recommended Mr. Nowak to Mr. Sakiewicz for the job with the Philadelphia Union.
Shep tries to help Nowak get away from Philly
Item: Alhough contractually barred from negotiating with other potential employers while with the Union, Nowak did so - with U.S. Soccer.— Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper) January 6, 2016
Nowak eventually grew unhappy about his situation in Philadelphia, telling Shep at one point "I have to get the hell out of Philadelphia." This was even though Nowak was contractually obligated NOT to look for other employment while with the Union.
Now let's have a look at this statement Messing made in testifying to, it seems the arbitrator (warning: expletive) pic.twitter.com/NXVgBhmJ3L— Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper) January 6, 2016
Shep helped out Nowak by providing him contact information for sports agent Michael Morris, and apparently acting as an agent by helping with negotiations.
And it is specifically stated in this filing that Peter Nowak used Shep Messing as an advisor in said negotiations. pic.twitter.com/9zHCan7xkT— Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper) January 6, 2016
With Shep's help, Nowak was looking for new positions in the US, Europe, and the United Arab Emirates. He was eyeing up the United States National Team post after the 2010 World Cup (Bob Bradley was then the coach), a possible job in Scotland, and the Poland National Team.
Peter Nowak also used Shep Messing as an intermediary to reach an agent to try to find jobs in Scotland & the UAE: pic.twitter.com/4DEpkjNNKW— Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper) January 6, 2016
Again, that's Peter Nowak using Shep Messing as an intermediary to try to get a job with U.S. Soccer while employed by the Union.— Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper) January 6, 2016
The search at US Soccer is particularly ironic as the Union had paid the federation $75,000 to have Nowak released from his contract to join the Union. Now why does this matter? One of the reasons for firing Nowak seemed to be because of his communication about another job while with the Union. Nowak's side claims that since all action was indirect, there was no breach of contract. In fact, it seems that the team did not have any knowledge of this first hand.
From Peter Nowak's side, a transcript of arbitration testimony by Jay Sugarman: pic.twitter.com/wDqH84yrXD— Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper) January 6, 2016
What does this mean for Shep?
Probably nothing. There's nothing stopping a friend from helping another in finding a job. It's up to the person who is under contract to follow the rules, and as Nowark is the one who filed a suit, Shep probably won't see any action.
However, as he does work for MSG in relation to MLS matches, it is possible the league could talk to the company about his role in the future. This is pure speculation, but for a league that fired an in house writer over the comments of an owner, anything is possible.
For now, all we can do about Shep is sit back and watch how the Nowak case unfolds.