Earlier this week, an ad was erected right in front of Elland Road. If Leeds United majority owner Massimo Cellino had not heard the chants from fans calling for him to go, it appeared some wanted to make sure he got the hint in writing.
Shortly after the ad started spreading like wildfire across the internet, it disappeared. Lawyers representing Massimo were claiming that the ad equated to a form of harassment at Massimo's workplace.
Now, I am not going to get into the bickering of whether this is the view of a vast majority of fans or if it is the work of a very vocal minority. I think we all know which out of the two it is. This is about me having my absolute fill of this tactic of running to a lawyer whenever something does not go your way.
Every day in the real world, all of us have to deal with some form of criticism. How you deal with it determines how you will let it influence you, for the better or worse. As a contributor for this site, I have received very kind words for the pieces I have written. However, at my other gig, I have received my fair share of criticism. Do I respond to the trolls? No. I try to avoid that muck. Some criticism I see as constructive, and I actually use it to better myself. It is nice to get some ideas that come out of the box when you might be blinded since you are so close to a situation.
Everyone has the right to their thoughts/beliefs and to voice them. This is why on my personal social media, I am inundated with those with drastically different political and social views. There are sometimes that I just cannot believe some stances that seem so archaic or comments posted that are beyond racist. Do I unfriend or block the people from my social media? No. As much as I disagree, it is their right to post such comments and speak their minds.
You cannot and should not shield yourself from such comments. In the end, it is not helpful to live in a bubble of all like-minded people. It does not help anyone grow.
Love, tolerate, or hate him, Massimo could have demonstrated a backbone this week with this ad. He could have said nothing and continued on his merry way. I would have loved seeing Massimo actually walk out to the ad, autograph it, and snap a picture. I would have given the man props for being bold and brash, laughing it off or playing along. However, to call your lawyers? Maybe Donald Drumpf should have saved his shared description of Ted Cruz from a rally attendee for Massimo.
As soon as I saw this ad, it reminded me of a situation with the San Francisco Giants, a Major League Baseball team here in the States. Barry Bonds was pocketing the home run records while a cloud of suspicion surrounded him about rumored performance enhancer usage.
One day, outside of AT&T Ballpark, this billboard appeared.
Much larger than Massimo's. Right in your face. Simply stated.
Did Bonds cry? Did he "lawyer up"?
No, he continued doing what he was doing.
In the end, I laugh at Massimo's attorneys claiming that the ad was like workplace harassment.
Massimo, if you want some words, here they are: don't lawyer up, MAN UP.