With everything that has been written, said, yelled, and sobbed over the last week about the San Diego Chargers’ move to Los Angeles, Sports Fans Coalition just wants to remind Commissioner Goodell and the greedy NFL owners that you have not heard the last from fans.
When a team and its city that have been together for over a half century can be ripped apart by a billionaire owner – in this case the Spanos family – because (grab your tissues) the owners didn’t get enough money from taxpayers, it’s time to change the system.
The city of San Diego voted in a referendum last November against spending taxpayer dollars to build a new stadium. Better put, voters rejected handing cash over to a billionaire owner who didn’t want to pay for a new stadium himself. Then the great, all-powerful Roger Goodell announced that because the community didn’t support the team, the Bolts are pulling up stakes and moving north.
Here’s what that’s called: Extortion.
The mafia used it back when John Gotti knew how to run a loading dock. Won’t pay me my price? Get whacked.
Today, the goons are all cleaned up. NFL owners and their spokes-bot in the Front Office pit one community against another in an interstate taxpayer shake-down. Oh, you don’t want to cough it up? Then we’ll just move your team to a city that will pay our ransom.
Next year, some other poor sap of a city will get the same shakedown. You can bet, one of the goons will whisper, do what we say or you’ll end up like San Diego.
“San Diego sleeps wit da fishes.”
We all know that owners can and do build stadiums with their own money -- thank you, Abe Polin -- for building an arena in D.C. without a dime of taxpayer money, and may you rest in peace. We also know that billionaire owners would rather make you pay for the stadium than foot the bill themselves because, hey, that’s just the way it goes. The rich get richer, the billionaires get what they want, and the rest of us can just shut up and take it, right?
We at Sports Fans Coalition believe that what the NFL and the owners do in cases like this would be a criminal antitrust violation in any other business. We believe that laws, regulations, taxpayer money, and other public goods are handed over to line the owners’ pockets at the expense of fans. And we believe it’s time to take back what’s ours.
- No federal antitrust exemption for leagues unless the fans get what they want.
- No taxpayer funds unless the fans get what they want.
- No waivers, exemptions, or variances unless fans get what they want.
- Heck, if we really wanted to change sports for the better, we’d make sure that fans – not billionaires – own teams. After all, when was the last time the Packers threatened to leave Green Bay?
The good people of St. Louis and San Diego (interesting…both named for saints) have lost teams and the L.A. fans have gained teams but the sport is the big loser. If the NFL wonders why its ratings are down, it should look in the mirror.