“Final Week-Final Farewell-No Finality to the Resentment”
How do you describe the emotion we will feel in the next week?.
The Chargers are headed to their final 3-days of off season workouts in Murphy Canyon. Once their last workout is over mid-next-week, they will pack up gear, and begin moving football operations to Costa Mesa, for camp to open at the end of July.
It’s been strange to watch these final days, the death watch of the Lightning Bolt, in San Diego, unfold.
The OTA workouts have been behind locked gates. The once a week access to the media has been sparsely attended. When the players have been on the field, more times than not, they have been at the opposite end of the field, hundreds yards away from the what media is there.
There are no open workouts for the fans.
There is no lockeroom access. Player press conferences are short with limited access. The new head coach Anthony Lynn and his staff have never been officially introduced at a press conference in San Diego by the franchise. His press briefings have been 7-to-10 minutes.
The GM Tom Telesco has talked individually to what local media have shown up. The VP-Football Operations, John Spanos, has virtually disappeared.
There has been no sighting of the villain owner, Dean Spanos, when the media has had access.
The newspaper, the UT, does not have an NFL beat-writer now. Their lead columnist, who covered the Chargers, is not there, and is not writing columns about the team.
The LA Times beat writer has been there, and the ESPN.com NFL writer, who will go to LA, is a weekly presence.
None of the two radio stations who do sports-talk, have had any presence out at camp. No hosts out there. No shows out there. Little conversation on the air either.
Of the 5-TV stations that cover sports, only NBC 7-39 and Fox-5 have appeared. CBS 8, KUSI and KGTV seem set to ignore the team in its final days. Oddly, none of the LA TV-stations have staffed any of the workouts.
There is absolutely no buzz around the workouts. No excitement nor anticipation about what these high draft picks will look like.
Sources say the building that housed the business operation is ‘half empty’. A chunk has already moved to the “Hive” business park in Orange County where they have set up operations.
People inside say the atmosphere has been like “Black Monday” every week since the move was announced. A large number say they cannot forgive ownership for what they did, and the ‘cold-corporate’ staff meeting that was held days after the move was announced.
Of the 65-non football staff members who work at Chargers Park, at least 35-have decided they will not go to LA. In addition, the team has cut away its Stadium Operation staff, and let loose a large number of sales and marketing people. The top 3-PR people are not going with the team either.
It has been strange to see the lack of sizzle, lack of interest. It’s understandable the remorse that still exists in the community.
The players have tried to toe a company line, knowing what is ahead, and telling us they are preparing for a new season. But they must ache also, like being in an orphanage.
In 6-weeks, the pain, like a toothache, will return, when preseason camp officially opens, and there is no team here to talk about, cheer for, or care about.
Emotionally lots in our community have said farewell to the greedy owner and his family. But the farewell to the resentment over what happened is not going away.
What will go away will be the moving vans, which are parked daily out front of the building, hauling away helmets and file cabinets, uniforms and desks, and 56-years of loyalty and memories.
What won’t go away will be the hurt and the emptiness we will feel going forward, as our NFL team, goes out of town..