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NYCFC fans need to stop hating Red Bull

It's getting ridiculous, stop hating the New York Red Bulls for their ownership, or just admit to being hypocrites.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Now to start off, I need to make it clear, in no way am I saying NYCFC fans should stop hating the New York Red Bulls. A little genuine animosity can do a lot of good in a rivalry. However, NYCFC fans need to stop hating Red Bull, the company, as an ownership group.

To begin with, hating on the New York Red Bulls because on its suboptimal ownership group is a lazy insult. ‘New Jersey Energy Drink' jokes are like fart jokes; they are lowest common denominator humor, uncreative, and frankly lame at this point. For ten year olds they are great, but for a full grown adult? Come on now.

Most importantly though is the fact that these jokes are beyond hypocritical. When real rivals like DC United, the New England Revolution, or (debatably) the Philadelphia Union knock New York for its awful ownership and branding at least there is a sense of sincerity there. For New York City? Well let us just say you can not spell farce without FC.

It is okay to enjoy the romantic notions of sport. Soccer and its global history in particular certainly lend itself to these idealistic dreams of grandeur. The deeply ingrained fan culture, promoting the power and voice of supporters, Ultras, and fanatics alike, is something unique to soccer and global football. Personally, I relish in the romance of sport and the stories it tells, soccer especially so. Yet, I understand due to the realities I live in there comes a point where supporting my local soccer team conflicts with these ideas of romanticism I so readily embrace. I am, after all, a New York Red Bulls fan, owned by the big, bad Austrian Energy Drink Corporation, a multinational company known for its mediocre beverages, patronage of extreme and wacky sports, above average working conditions, and charity work.

With New York City FC and their fans the criticism of terrible ownership rings beyond hollow. The idealistic notion of not-for-profit, fan ownership in soccer is alive and well, but in reality that does not really extend to American soccer, especially so NYCFC. This is, after all, the soccer team owned by a combination of the New York Yankees (enough said) and a financial group set up with the purpose of diversifying an oil-rich nation's financial holdings while allowing a billionaire prince to play out his daydreams. It is pretty two-faced and hypocritical when an NYCFC fan harps of the Red Bulls global synergy with its sister teams when their team is owned by the same people who own Manchester City FC, Melbourne City FC, and Yokohama Marinos (there is a branding pattern in there I will let you figure out).

Can one support a team despite an awful ownership group? Can one actively hate their own ownership and what they stand for and still support the team? Why certainly. It is called cognitive dissonance, a term to describe the "psychological conflict resulting from incongruous beliefs and attitudes held simultaneously". It does not automatically make every Manchester City, Melbourne City, or New York City FC fan a horrible person. Far from it. Instead it makes them human. 

Am I glad I am supporting a soccer team that is virtually a walking billboard for a global energy drink corporation? No, but there are worse things in my life I deal with. I have learned to deal with my conflicting romantic beliefs of sport and my realities as an American soccer fan in the New York area. Unless I suddenly start supporting the Brooklyn Italians I am always going to have to maintain some level of cognitive dissonance.

Hate Red Bull for doing the global soccer conglomeration first. Leipzig, Salzburg, and New York have all been operating far longer than City, City, and City have. Hate them for doing it better. MCFC has five titles of varying importance; every other City Financial Group men's team has none. New York has two Supporters Shields, Salzburg has seven league titles and three national cups, and Leipzig just got promoted to the Bundesliga. Hate them for having some of the brightest soccer minds in the world on their staff. Ralf Rangnick and Oliver Mintzlaff will dribbles mental circles around Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain any day of the week. But do not be a hypocrite about it. Acknowledge who you are, what you are supporting, and move on. Hate Red Bull all you want, but if you are going to, at least hate them properly.

Be against modern football, be against single entity, be against Red Bull, be against a closed system. Fine. But then reconcile your fandom, change it if you are an NYCFC fan, and do not be a hypocrite about it.

Next time be smarter with your taunts, next time be smarter with your arguments.