NEW YORK, NY – Just down the street from Penn Station, Madison Square Garden and the famously-decorated Macy’s Department Store, a relaxed PRO Rugby Owner, Doug Schoninger, greeted me at the elevator bank on the 36th floor of his One Penn Plaza office. After quick handshakes, we spirited off to the conference room. While we walked, he handed me two printed pieces of paper.
“That’s my credit report. Just printed. It shows there are no liens or debts. Nothing. There’s the truth. ”
And with that, we sat down for an interview that went well beyond an hour, likely closer to two. As per his counsel, Mr. Schoninger chose not to come on camera at this time. But he did allow for the conversation to be recorded so that his quotes would be accurate in print, as this now apparently acrimonious relationship between Pro Rugby, USA Rugby, some players, coaches and vendors unveils itself for all to see.
Mr. Schoninger asked that the credit report be released immediately following our chat, understanding it would take some time to transcribe the audio of the main piece. He viewed reports about his finances as representative of other allegations, charges and conclusions made on different Internet platforms:
“… people pick things up and jump to conclusions that are incorrect. One of them that is particularly incorrect is an allegation that Rugby Today made about liens and all this other stuff. I have sent them a copy of my latest credit report that shows no liens, no judgements, no bankruptcies, no collections. Zero. I’ve asked for an immediate correction. I think I deserve an apology, to say the least. I also think it represents what’s wrong with rugby in America…. unprofessional, accusational, kind of bullying of people, and I’m not going to be bullied. I’m going to do the right thing, I’m going to grow this game, with or without these people. But it’s going to happen. The opportunity is great. I believe it, partners I’m talking to believe it, and it’s not going to stop us. And unfortunately a lot of people don’t want to see us succeed but the good news is that most do want us to succeed. And we will succeed.”
This is just a piece of the interview. Other issues discussed include:
-Schoninger’s views on the problems between Pro Rugby and USA Rugby
-The sanctioning agreement with then-CEO Nigel Melville and USA Rugby’s Board
-Unpaid contracts and bills
-Disbanding the San Francisco Rush
-The future of Pro Rugby.
We hope to have more for you Friday by noon, NYC time.
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