“Chargers-Saying-Doing Right Things–Finally”
A step forward from an organization that has taken so many steps backwards in its credibility in this community.
I’m not talking about the (4-12) San Diego Chargers football season, the shaky drafts, nor the wasted free agent money spent.
The Chargers have begun a concerted effort to try and restore their image after a near year-long spitting contest, where they tried to undermine everything the city-county-CSAG coalition did on their behalf to find a way to build and fund a new NFL stadium.
Owner Dean Spanos, who picks and chooses whom he wishes to talk to in the media, used one word, and took one action, in a 48-hour span, that have to be looked at in an approving fashion.
Spanos, under fire again for refusing to meet with all the key media members in town, and for insisting he would not talk about the past, wants to set aside all the damage done over the last year plus to his reputation.
No questions on the deal he made with the Rams; no questions about the (30-2) Houston vote at the NFL owners meetings; no questions about the demise of the Carson project; no questions about his relationship with the Raiders.
Of course, when it was convenient, he has talked about the past lousy leadership in San Diego’s government, that failed to work with him on stadium deals. He uses the ‘past’, only when it is to his advantage. He’ll have to work on that shortcoming.
However, in his limited interviews, he used a key word that caught my attention, ‘concessions’, and it was not used in reference to just the city-county-mayor nor supervisor. He was talking about his franchise making concessions too.
Maybe it was forced out of his mouth, because Commissioenr Roger Goodell said any new stadium in San Diego “had to work for both the city and the franchise”. Maybe it’s a new era where cities will no longer be held hostage. Extortion will no longer be part of doing business. I’ll get back to you on that one.
The other key issue in the last 4-hours, is the hiring of Fred Maas, the former influential Chairman of the Centre City Development Association, whose track record is developing, financing and finshing off projects, things like Black Mountain Ranch and the TPC Communities. He knows land use, environment law, financing. Yes he is a Spanos supporter, but also a civic supporter too.
He arrives as Mark Fabiani steps away from all the fire fight comments he made over the last year, the so-called ‘scorched earth policy’ of Team Spanos.
Time is of the essence, the next 7-weeks needed to come up with a Stadium location, stadium design, and financing. That before the beginning of a public drive to get signatures for a voter referendum. The Spanos-Maas team can now take the package plan of Kevin Faulconeer and Ron Roberts, rework it-remold it, and see how quickly they can reach agreement.
Nothing is ever certain dealing with those people at the Fortress-Chargers Park. But if you can take them at their word, what they did Saturday and now Monday, anything is better than what we have had to deal with over the last year or so.
Putting the right people in place on the Chargers side of the negotiating table, with experience and class, not hidden agendas, is a positive.
For once, one step forward by the NFL owner, after taking so many steps back with his attitude, arrogance, and cut-throat style.
Maybe it was the LA Times poll that showed 86% of the fans in LA want the Rams and only the Rams. Or maybe it was the UT poll, 95% of the fans here viewed Dean Spanos, as the most hated sports figured in city history.
Maybe it is reality, he lost out in LA and in Carson, and in the board rooms of the NFL. Humble pie may have a bitter taste.
Words are cheap. Actions carry value. This step forward has some validity to remove the stain from his soiled credibility.