Philadelphia cite hazing, player endangerment, ‘culture of fear’ for firing Peter Nowak

Brooks Peck
July 24, 2012

In June, the Philadelphia Union sacked their first manager, Peter Nowak, just six months after he signed a three-year contract extension with the club. Now Nowak is suing the club in federal court for the remaining 3 1/2 years of unpaid wages left on his contract and severance pay, which he feels he's owed.

Just before he was fired, Nowak seemed to be systematically disassembling the team he helped build and led to the playoffs in just their second year of existence by trading away his captain (Danny Califf), top scorer (Sebastien Le Toux) and top draft pick (Danny Mwanga), among others. But now it's been revealed that many more reasons are behind the move than just a few puzzling trades and poor results.'s Jonathan Tannenwald got his hands on the original letter that lists all of the reasons Nowak was terminated and it includes everything from hazing to actively seeking employment in Europe and badmouthing the Union to endangering his players, being insubordinate to CEO Nick Sakiewicz and creating a "culture of fear." Here are some of the numbered reasons from the letter:

1. various material breaches of League Rules (including the League's Collective Bargaining Agreement), including physical confrontations with players and officials during a Team game resulting in a fine and multi-game suspension, interfering with the rights of Team players to contact the players' union with concerns, subjecting Team players to inappropriate hazing activities and engaging in behavior that put the health and safety of Team players at risk.


3. demonstrating gross negligence, including putting the health and safety of Team players at risk by requiring injured players to participate in strenuous training activities, not allowing players to have water during such activities despite temperatures in excess of 80 degrees, ignoring the advice of the head athletic trainer regarding which players are healthy enough to play in games and participate in training sessions and creating an atmosphere where medical issues should be hid from medical staff and not treated.


6. various material breaches of Team Rules, including creating a hostile work environment and culture of fear for Team players and other front office employees by orally berating and physically intimidating fellow employees.

Basically, Nowak is accused of everything except kicking the owner's cat and defecating in the stadium hot tub. Most of it isn't terribly surprising, either. Stories about the aggressive unpleasantness in dealing with Nowak are numerous and not at all limited to those who work for the Philadelphia Union.

As the case progresses, perhaps we'll get further details on the reasons for termination listed above. Like maybe something about hazing Freddy Adu by duct taping him to the wing of an airplane or making Roger Torres train for a week straight without water or psychologically tormenting Michael Farfan into thinking that he's actually twin brother Gabriel Farfan, and making Gabriel Farfan think he's actually Gabriel Gomez.

Check out for full details of the lawsuit.