The Vancouver Whitecaps have heard Darren Mattocks.
And they are not amused.
One day after the speedy sophomore blasted the team's handling of him on Jamaican TV, club president Bob Lenarduzzi held an impromptu conference call with reporters on Wednesday afternoon in response.
“[Director of professional teams] Greg Anderson and I had exit meetings with the players last Thursday and Friday, and Darren was one of those exit meetings,” Lenarduzzi said. “We had a fairly lengthy conversation, and he expressed a disappointment over the past season, which wasn't surprising because obviously things didn't go as well as he would have liked or as well as we would have liked. But not much more than that.
“So I have to admit to being a little taken aback by the comments on Jamaican television, and it's certainly not something, from our club perspective, that we would want to have happening, which is the kind of criticism that should really take place between the coach and the player or the club and the player.”
Lenarduzzi said the club did not “condone” the player's actions, but did not go into detail as to what punishment they would dole out for the player, if any, saying any action would be kept “internal.”
The club's head honcho also said Mattocks' assertion that the Whitecaps blocked a big-money move elsewhere in MLS was false, but did concede that plenty of other teams are interested in his services.
While firm in his response to the 23-year-old striker's surprising outburst, Lenarduzzi was conciliatory in his tone.
“No different than it was prior to him making the comments,” Lenarduzzi said of his level of concern about the relationship between the club and the player. “Darren has been prone – and we've talked about it – to making comments or sometimes has looked in games like he's disinterested. So, we know those are all things that come with Darren, but he's got a special ability.
“So until we decide differently, we're going to try to work to bring out the best in him and at the same time have him appreciate that he can't be doing what he's just done.”
- The latest Whitecaps news at WhitecapsFC.com
The Whitecaps have attempted to contact Mattocks in the wake of the comments but have yet to get in touch with the player. But do they want him back next year?
“Yes we do,” Lenarduzzi said. “Bottom line, he's under contract to the Whitecaps.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.