Hernandez files lawsuit against FC Dallas for wrongful termination

DannyHernandez (ISIPhotos.com)

By IVES GALARCEP

When Daniel Hernandez finished up his playing career with FC Dallas last fall, he fully expected to make the transition to the team’s coaching staff in a move similar to ones made by many long-time MLS players. The veteran midfielder had spent years in Major League Soccer, and years wearing the armband for FC Dallas, and he figured to have at least two years working the sidelines alongside Schellas Hyndman, his former college coach and the man who brought him to play for his hometown FC Dallas.

Things didn’t quite work out that way. less than two months after retiring, Hernandez was fired by FC Dallas for what was deemed as engaging in competitive activities with FC Dallas. His mistake? Hernandez has now filed a lawsuit against FC Dallas alleging Breach of Contract and the lawsuit alleges that he was ultimately fired for displaying a Nike swoosh on his personal website (FC Dallas is sponsored by adidas).

Hernandez is now suing FC Dallas for the remaining two years of his coaching contract, for Breach of Contract and Fraudulent Inducement. The latter claim stemming from the fact that FC Dallas convinced Hernandez to take a pay cut in 2012 by signing him to a three-year player/coach contract his is alleging the club never intended to pay.

“Daniel only wants them to live up to promises they made,” Dave Wishnew, Hernandez’s attorney, told SBI. “FC Dallas improperly terminated his coaching contract in order to avoid paying him two years of his slary.

“We tried handling it without ltigiation, but they forced Daniel to seek a lawsuit to receive what is rightfully his,” Wishnew added. “He loved his time with FC Dallas and the community. He wanted to retire with some dignity and fulfull his commitment as a coach and he wasn’t given that opportunity.”

The details included in the lawsuit paint a picture of mistreatment for a former player who served as the team’s captain for three of his four seasons with the club. Hernandez served as captain on the FC Dallas team that reached the MLS Cup Final, where it lost to the Colorado Rapids.

Hernandez spent 13 seasons playing in MLS, with stints in Mexico included in a professional career that saw him play for five different MLS teams. He served as captain for the New York/New Jersey MetroStars and FC Dallas.

The lawsuit is the latest bit of bad news for a club that has endured a rough few months. Back in November, then-FC Dallas president Doug Quinn was arrested for allegedly assaulting his wife in a New York hotel. Quinn eventually resigned from FC Dallas.

You can read the full details of the lawsuit here:

HernandezVsFCDallas

What do you think of this development? Think Hernandez has a strong case? Disappointed with the way FC Dallas treated their former captain?

Share your thoughts below.

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27 Responses to Hernandez files lawsuit against FC Dallas for wrongful termination

  1. ChiTown says:

    Just finished reading the lawsuit. That is bad news bears for FC Dallas.

    • slowleftarm says:

      Nah, case will settle quietly for some fraction of what he’s claiming here.

      • slowleftarm says:

        Would be interested in seeing the contract though. Odd that it isn’t attached to the Complaint.

  2. Anthony says:

    Hmmmm… Need to hear what he did to get fired. Define, “competitive activities”

    • ChiTown says:

      The lawsuit lays it out, but SparksNotes version is…

      Hernandez was running non-profit camps for little kids when he was a player (and FC Dallas officially endorsed it.)

      He was then forced into a player/coach position and kept running the camps. They then told him the camps were competing against FC Dallas (even though they had endorsed it once already).

      He was then told to wear only Nike gear to the facility.

      He was then fired for having a Nike swoosh on his personal website somewhere and they don’t want to pay the remainder of his contract.

    • Tres says:

      They are identified in the story — indeed, in the very same paragraph.

  3. Wes says:

    Not exactly the most well run franchise…

  4. CR says:

    As an FC Dallas fan, I was just waiting for something to bring me back down from the high of beating Houston. I know that we can’t see what goes on behind the scenes, but this organization needs some serious front office and public relations help. Hernandez did turn into a bit of a dica last season, but it’s hard to not think Schellas’s ego isn’t hurting the team when every single player he has a spat with is gone by the next season. Especially when the departures are so publicly bitter.

    • CR says:

      Diva, not dica

    • Dub says:

      As someone who is a very casual fan of FC Dallas and soccer as a whole, every article I’ve ever read about FC Dallas leads me to the conclusion that Schellas Hyndman is the cancer that holds that the team back from at least advancing as an organization.

      • CR says:

        Hyndman certainly has his issues, but it doesn’t help that our front office is only beat by Chivas USA as the worst in the league. They are incredibly poor at communicating to the fans, horrible at advertising the product/team, and so out of touch with the fans it’s ridiculous. Schellas can’t help with that. However, selling Brek Shea and buying two expensive forwards before realizing we don’t have a decent left mid? Classic FCD/Schellas.

    • Ja Ja James says:

      Despite the loss, it makes me feel better that I’m a Dynamo fan.

  5. bkupp says:

    Sounds like they tried to pull an end-run around the salary cap and then decided they wanted to have their cake and eat it too.

    Should be interested to find out what evidence DH has to support his case.

    I did find it curious that he was fired so soon after he started coaching for them.

  6. Josh says:

    Good for him, as a Dallas fan, I think it’s high time the idiots who run this club are taken to task for repeatedly be shady as fuck. They have created a long list of spurned player promises and contracts, and have created a reputation for not being honest businessmen. I hope he wins his case, and I hope this is a nail in the coffin of the people who run this club, sadly since one of them is part of the ownership family, he will get to stay forever.

  7. Rex says:

    Interesting to see the implications of this. The player/coach seems to be a mechanism to keep a veteran player and while moving some salary off the books. Looks a player takes a pay cut or signs for less than the going rate with the guarantee of a front office job after they retire and knowing they can make up the difference after they are out of the league and off the books for salary cap. I wonder what the players union says because as veteran player some of that would be guaranteed if he was cut/fired, but not as a coach.

  8. uncre8tv says:

    Sounds like the HSG. They haven’t been the same since Lamar died. Now it’s just about power plays and money moves. Clark is a silver-spoon asshat.

  9. madrapperx says:

    not cool. what effect will this have, if any, for HSG ?

  10. Pepe says:

    FC Dallas is such a scummy organization

  11. Dos says:

    I know there are a good amount of bar members who frequent this site . . . someone give me the elevator breakdown of who wins and why

  12. jack the lawyer says:

    Plaintiffs always win – because the threat of trial is too risky. So yes, Daniel will get a settlement of some kind.

  13. David says:

    Of course this isn’t good news for FCD, but Im not going to jump to conclusions until we hear the whole story. Of course it’s easier to feel for DH after reading his side. Hopefully we’ll see FCD’s side. Also, much of his story is hard to prove (conversations with Shellas or Dan Hunt). To be honest, I have a feeling he was fired for something much worse but was ‘officially’ fired for these reasons to save face for DH and the franchise.

    No matter what the truth is, it’s still not good news.

  14. boosted335 says:

    = awkward

  15. Tom Traubert says:

    Personally I was not fired up about him staying on as a player/coach. He played one year too long as it was, and I’m not sure what he brought to the table as a coach (other than former player). Always seemed to have an FU attitude, although he did bleed for the team.

  16. Brian says:

    There are two sides to every story and I’m interested to hear the other side because I find it hard to believe that the organization would alienate a former captain and local boy over the petty details outlined in the lawsuit. And it’s just as bad if they drummed up the charges to fire him to avoid paying his coaching contract because he had only two years left at $75k/yr. Not exactly big money and you would think they could’ve easily gotten a return on dollars spent in some combination of coaching (if not the first team, then at the reserve and academy level) and PR appearances.

    • David says:

      I agree. And it’s a position that was later filled by someone else making whatever money saved by the club (if any) even less. I don’t see this having anything to do with money on the FCD end.

  17. DREAM says:

    what a POS