Mission soccer field controversy

On Friday morning, a tipster sent us this video of an incident at a soccer field in the Mission:

We mulled it over all weekend (at the beach) and our main takeaway is that if the two groups buried the hatchet and played all together, like the end of the video suggests they do, it’s a beautiful story. Learning, understanding, coming together — through pickup soccer. Peace on Earth.

Our secondary takeaway from this whole episode is that we love this one righteously indignant guy in the “V” hat. He’s so flustered, it’s kind of sweet. So we decided to commemorate some of his lines with the help of Meme Generator:

I mean, just put yourself in his shoes: being so flustered that you start muttering phrases like “you’re being disastrously weird, man.”

Gotta love humanity.

73 Responses to “Mission soccer field controversy”

  1. troll says:

    What about overgrown grayback manboy with the drop box tee?! I want some memes on that jackass, too, cause he’s actually an asshole. This guy just seems DISASTROUSLY AWKWARD.

    I love his little clap to get the kids off the field, too. “This clap means playtime’s over kids!”

  2. house says:

    What I’m not clear on, is someone let them reserve the field, when it’s always been open for use. What’s the deal with that? That seems like the problem.

    • house says:

      Other than of course the douchery.

    • cattycat says:

      The city’s new plan to raise money for the construction costs of the remodel, charge people on Tue & Thur nights to reserve the field. But nobody from the city there to facilitate the new plan… also it’s not cheap, they are charging per person $5-$10.

  3. Standard says:

    Latino to white man: “Show me your papers.”

    • NotSoSilentObserver says:

      Pretty sure there was a hint of a smirk when he said that.

    • En-Chu Lao says:

      If pouting Conor’s captured comments are any indication of the extent of his vocabulary:

      “We no need no stinkin’ papers.”

  4. GG says:

    The first time I watched it, I was willing to reserve judgment (even after “How long have you lived here?” “Over a YEAR!” LOL) until the *DISASTROUSLY* weird line. That’s literally almost a Sixteen Candles quote (or maybe the Breakfast Club?).

  5. Andy Blue says:

    [As I posted on Facebook this morning] I recommend multiple viewings of the Mission Playground video. There are so many layers and you’ll get more out of it each time. The timing of its release to the world–in the few days between the Supervisors’ approval of another sweetheart deal for a tech company (Airbnb: no back taxes collected!) and the holiday formerly know as Columbus Day, couldn’t be more miraculously perfect.

    Add to that the fact that the “disastrously awkward,” paper-permit-wielding guy apparently works for Airbnb–and we have what could be referred to as a very, VERY teachable moment.

    Where to begin?! The mayor and his compliant votes on the Board of Supes give tax breaks to tech companies. Then we’re told our public parks are underfunded so people need to pay to use them. Then employees from those very companies, direct beneficiaries of the under-taxed corporate wealth, use some of that wealth to try to buy a soccer field out from under the neighborhood youth of color who have used that field in a fair-and-square (and free!) pick-up system that has been practiced effectively for decades. You can’t make this stuff up.

    But it’s not just the Mayor’s pay-to-play system (from Room 200 to our public parks and everywhere in between) that is awful here. Not by a long shot. The “disastrously awkward” newcomers to the neighborhood and the City (okay, to be fair one of them has been here OVER a year) acted terribly in this situation and it’s just another in a long serious of similar, unacceptable encounters that the existing Latino community in the neighborhood has increasingly experienced in recent months and years.

    I’ve heard a few folks defend the neighborhood newcomers for just getting a permit and following the rules and then getting caught up in an unfortunate encounter that was not of their making. But if the would-be usurpers in the video seem utterly unable to comprehend what’s unacceptable about their behavior, we need to call it out for what it is. It was disrespectful, rude, dismissive, and came from a sense of entitlement and a context and history of white privilege and racism. And in all sincerity, the comparisons drawn in humorous internet meme images, between the Mission Playground encounter to Christopher Columbus’ encounter with the indigenous people of this hemisphere, are actually quite apt and illuminating for a number of reasons. [I may elaborate later, but it's just too beautiful out today].

    Great to see that more than 700 people have RSVP’d to be at City Hall on Thursday to say enough is enough –>https://www.facebook.com/events/736858433055477/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

    • rolling in the mish says:

      Thank god you are here to pass judgement on who belongs in the mission and what law abbiding behavior is acceptable. I am sure you would make just a much of a fuss about the continual prostitution that is endimic on capp street, or the drunks that hang around Jose Coronado or the theives that hang out in from on Alioto park, as well attend the neighborhood meetings that try and address those issue. Ohh wait you don’t, you saw a video online, got outraged and posted a long comment… to arms!!

      • Andy Blue says:

        You must forgive me, rolling in the miss. I thought we were discussing here the issues exemplified in the Mission Playground video. Are there other issues in the neighborhood (and the world for that matter) that I did *not* address in my somewhat lengthy, but far from comprehensive internet comment? Why yes there are. Thank you for pointing that out, ritm.

    • LW says:

      @Andy Blue: Please get over yourself. The people with the permit were just following the rules that have been sent up by Parks and Rec. There was nothing disrespectful or rude about that. Nor is there any element of white privilege (unless you think that Latinos are unable to use a telephone) or racism here.
      Your attempt to draw this into a big political issue really just reveals your intolerance. Basically you don’t like the tech newcomer and refuse to accept them as part of the community. And for some reason you believe that one segment of the community gets to dictate the rules to everyone else. That is a narrow-minded, self-serving attitude that will just create more conflict.
      It may be that the City’s policy regarding the park is bad, but accusing those who are trying to follow it of racism is just nasty. You can’t preach tolerance and understanding while at the same time showing so much contempt towards others.

    • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

      Well said.

  6. Some Jerk says:

    This whole kerfuffle works great as an allegory of the current economic, class, and cultural issues in the Mission, SF, and the Bay Area in general. But as far as the reality of this specific situation, it’s not that horrible that one can reserve things like public athletic fields within certain limited hours.

    • Andy Blue says:

      Okay SJ, perhaps, but there was no need to set up a reservation system for that particular field where the community had developed an effective and fair system of sharing the field, though an organic, consensus process over the course of decades. So “as far as the reality of this specific situation” (as you put it), it’s a perfect example of privatization’s corrosive impact on the cohesion of a community.

      And I shouldn’t have to point this out, but it not merely a situation of making a reservation as you imply. It’s a situation where you have to pay money to make that reservation and where you have to do it on a computer, online. You should be able to recognize how this rigs the system in favor of the newcomers and against the youth of the neighborhood who just wanna show up and take turns playing soccer on that field, as they and those before them, have always done peacefully, for decades.

      • rolling in the mish says:

        You do know there are a bunch of youth kids leagues that use the reservation system to play games on weekend mornings. Also, the reservation system has been used in all san francisco parks for a long time. Imagine you want to go to golden gate park and use a bbq there, do you think it is a first come first serve kind of thing. How would situations like that get resolved? You are making this is an issue when it really isn’t an issue.

        but hey controversy!!

        • Boner says:

          So which guy are you in the video?

        • backtotheburbs says:

          Oh, wait, the new youth kids league which now show up AFTER the park has been renovated??? You may or may not wish to know that ‘non-youth leagues’ kids have been playing their for decades. On a shitty asphalt surface and in sketchy surroundings.

          And I’ve seen those ‘youth kids leagues’ with my own eyes — all those kids are decked out in fancy, shiny, ultra clean head-to-toe soccer attire. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those shoes cost more than what we wear to work. The kids in those leagues do not resemble in anyway the ‘neighborhood league’ that used the field for a long time prior.

          Yes, the city requires reservations for some area. Over the years more and more places required reservations and now paid permits. Since the city is booming and rolling in money it makes no sense to nickel and dime local residents for (rather basic and unmaintained) services they had for free for decades. These sums are actually quite small. Of course if people want to make donations, that’s great.

          Change which excludes or displaces existing residents is a total issue!

      • Some Jerk says:

        Andy – I, as I suspect is the case with many people, am just now becoming familiar with the issues surrounding the “pay to play” system that was implemented after the park was fixed up (I’m not the athletic type). And based on my limited understanding, I think you’re probably making valid points as far as accessiblity. And hopefully this will help increase actual community engagement with these issues.

        But I also suspect that suddenly, everyone is an expert on the time-honored rules of the Mission Playground soccer field. And I also suspect that in reality, much of the heat around this is due to the fact that this video makes for great television (I mean youtube): it boils things down to an oversimplified and sensational confrontation with obvious good guys and villains.

        It’s not surprising that this video hits that nerve… the guys in the video make me cringe. I just think (most) people are reacting to this in a somewhat knee-jerk manner.

      • scum says:

        Libraries have computers, and the system is free.

    • troll says:

      Sure, but kids shouldn’t be kicked out of playgrounds on a weeknight before like 9 p.m. The fact that that’s a possibility is crap.

  7. SFnative says:

    So – does anyone know if they did end up playing together?

  8. Tuffy says:

    They did end up playing together.

    V hat guy is Conor Welch, who works as a “Community Support Lead”

    “Who cares about the neighborhood” guy is Jean-Denis Greze and he works for DropBox. He took to twitter to apologize.

    “Deeply sorry about the Mission Playground incident. I do care about my community…. What I said was insensitive and embarrassing to both Dropbox and me. In case it helps, we worked it out that day so everyone got to play.”

    Somehow, I doubt that any of the kids have seen his apology. Also, “my community” still reeks of bias.

    On the flip side, there’s an organized protest to abolish the reservation system.

    • MattK says:

      What is Jean-Denis’ twitter? Like an apology is nhot enough. He should have to write 1000 words on why settler colonialism is bad and how it ties into white supremacy and his actions….

  9. Greg says:

    Third world sport

  10. of course says:

    Wearing a baseball cap to play soccer is disastrously weird.

  11. NotSoSilentObserver says:

    Doesn’t the current system limit use of the field to soccer? The neighborhood kids that don’t play soccer must be super sad. :( Maybe there is a place for reservations – paid or not – after all.

  12. Conner says:

    I don’t get it?? if they reserved the field, then why didn’t the mexican kids just get off the fucking field and let them play?

  13. Conner says:

    that soccer field wouldn’t even be there if it wasnt’ for the tech money pouring in to the mission. HAVE SOME RESPECT.

  14. Big Head says:

    SF parks screwed these kids, not the guys who reserved the field. They did all the right things to play soccer.

    This hate on tech is incredibly ignorant.

    • troll says:

      Oh yeah, not like any one of those bros said “Who cares about the neighborhood?” or anything that would feed this backlash or anything.

    • Truth says:

      while I can understand their frustration, you have to take things in context. if you show up to a playground where there is 1 soccer field and try and kick a bunch of kids, mostly jr high/high school age, off of the field, you’re going to look like kind of a douche. even if you have a permit; it’s clearly seen as a pickup court by everyone in the neighborhood and the kids tried to include the dropbox dudes, but the dudes wanted the field to themselves.

  15. Nick Pal says:

    Josh. [beat] What are you doing?

    I don’t know. What are you doing?

    Protecting oil companies from litigation.

    Josh nods.

    They’re our client. They don’t lose legal protection because they make a
    lot of money.

    I can’t believe no one ever wrote a folk song about that.

  16. Truth says:

    This whole thing is so over-hyped, doesn’t seem like that big a deal, everyone in the video behaves relatively civil, even if some stupid statements are uttered. If anything this demonstrates how people in SF can have heated disagreements without getting physical or nasty.

    While I can understand the frustration of the bros (the city sold them a permit, they thought the field was theirs) if you are a group of grown-ass men and you show up and try to kick a group of kids, mostly minors, off of the only soccer field in the neighborhood, you are gonna look like a douche, especially if the kids are totally willing to include you in the game and let you play.

  17. one says:

    keep wearing your company t-shirts, bros. THANKS.

  18. Brad says:

    The difference between waiting ones turn for a game, and reserving a space in the park for a BBQ- is that I think most City natives are aware of the distinction… I played pickup basketball in the parks for years… if somebody showed up with a piece of paper saying they’d reserved the space, we would have laughed them off the court, then told them to take a number, and shoot some warmups… but a BBQ is an entirely different situation…A BBQ requires the kind of planning that pickup soccer or basketball games never would. …I think most reasonable people get the difference.
    I was impressed by the kids, and how well they handled it… Tech guys are lucky they didn’t run into the wrong bunch of kids, on the wrong day…
    I do kind of feel for the TechDudes… how awful, to become an internet meme… poor guy will never live it down…

    • Boner says:

      Yup, exactly. And if they were really part of the community they would have known that people play on that field EVERY day and could have easily introduced themselves at any point in time and became part of that scene if they so desired. They may not have because of the age difference but at least that would have told them they should take their game somewhere else. Pickup games are one of the best ways to get to know who lives in the neighborhood and to earn a little respect. This would not go well on a basketball court here or NYC or Chicago or any other major city. They would have been more than laughed off the court.

  19. Michele says:

    There is a giant sign posted on the field clearly stating the rules of use. The guys wearing the dropbox swag were just abiding by the law. You can’t blame these guys for doing well in school, continuing their educations and obtaining jobs that pay well. They just wanted to play soccer and did what the they were supposed to do.

    96% of the time the field can be used for drop in play and the rest of the time youth groups can obtain free reservations through parks and rec. They would just have to call the number.. The number clearly displayed on the giant sign posted on the field. See http://www.missionlocal.org for the posted signage

    • troll says:

      “You can’t blame these guys for doing well in school, continuing their educations and obtaining jobs that pay well.”

      Will you be my queen troll?

    • Aldric says:

      Maybe the academic Übermensches could work on their people skills and conflict resolution a bit more.

      • Michele says:

        Yes, most rational people prefer dealing with situations logically, legally and with the least amount of risk. This how humanity evolved and became civil. Civility, which provided infrastructure so that a community can even have an operating community soccer field.

        Some tech/engineer personalities may be socially awkward but almost ALL of us would become threatened if physically confronted by a larger group of people acting very territorial and all while being filmed without permission. The guys wearing Dropbox shirts were obviously embarrassed, flustered and frustrated because they had done what they thought everyone else had to do.

        I don’t for a second believe these guys were looking for trouble, rather, they were trying to be team players and avoid conflict by doing what they thought everyone else had done to be able to play there.

        So these guys, who followed the posted rules of conduct, reserved the field in the spirit of fairness and contribution not only paid to reserve their time on the field but paid the price of being shunned and chastised by a group of people who refused to play by the rules not very sportsmanly.. Not very civil.

  20. Oyster boy says:

    When I was young, kids respected their elders, even if they were bankers and pedophiles.

  21. mike says:

    tldr sf is to blame due to growing pains, and tech bros use asshole language.


  22. dickweed says:

    Those kids should just get fucking tech jobs so they can rent the field.

  23. gabriel says:

    I just…a few things.

    FIRST: “This piece of paper is your shield, Ned Stark?” lol.

    ALSO: at various points, I’ve sipped of the sweet elixir of Privilege (strongly of pomegranate) and I’ve been force-fed its bitter rinds (buttered popcorn jellybelly), and I have to say that, when Privilege Happens, my favorite flavor is the one where people of a certain background have rules written entirely for their benefit and then attempt to capitalize at the expense of others, only to come face to face with otherwise uncapitalized people, not easily bullied by pieces of paper, at which point that first group starts blubbering incoherently about the rules they totally made up: delicious every time.

    AND: no, the fact these particular bros didn’t come up with this particular rule doesn’t matter. When you profit from unfair or unjust rules, ordinances, laws, amendments, charters, pinky-swears, or other codifications of power that intentionally dispossess others, you are in fact participating in a system of oppression. That’s what makes it a system.

    THEN: savor this video, kids, after this there’s a lot more paper, a lot more privilege, a lot more money, and a lot of people coming to town who say that your family never lived in a neighborhood, you didn’t grow up in a neighborhood, and that you’re mistaken when you say “This is our neighborhood” because all you’re doing is squatting itinerantly on desirable real estate that is, for some reason, near lots of good Mexican food. This is a selling point. The Mexican food, I mean, not any of you. Not even the ones who aren’t particularly Mexican.

    PLUS: if one of these bros had not streamed a couple quarters of a Worldcup League sockerball wicket on his AndroidPad over the summer, this argument never happens.

    Well, not this one specifically anyway.

    • Andy Blue says:

      Holy shit. I do believe this is one of the most spectacularly brilliant, most spot-on, and most cleverly-crafted works of prose I’ve ever read in my life. Bravissimo!

  24. mister g says:

    if you really want to get mad, look into how many of those kids playing the the soccer leagues are from private schools, while no public school in the mission has a decent soccer field.

  25. RaquelD73 says:

    As John Lennon said…

    Corporation teeshirt, stupid bloody Tuesday
    Man you been a naughty boy. You let your face grow long