“Chargers—Criticism of a Reporter”
It’s been a gut-wrenching five years since the Chargers pulled up stakes and moved to Los Angeles.
We have cheered the arrival and the brilliance of young quarterback Justin Herbert.
We have felt bad at the exit of so many really good players who wore the Lightning Bolt on their helmet in San Diego.
We have observed good games, bad games, coaching firings, empty seats, seats filled people wearing the other team’s colors at so-called Chargers home games.
And now this…. it is why the column in “The Athletic”, the vibrant sports website, was so disappointing on Tuesday.
A column filled with generic interview quotes about the joys Dean Spanos is experiencing with his team playing in So Fi Stadium in Los Angeles.
Disappointing that there are so many questions that the author Daniel Kaplan could have asked, didn’t ask, and never paid attention too. And this from a website that has developed a reputation of being stand-up journalists getting to all parts of a story..
The storyline was that the owner has no regrets about leaving San Diego behind and moving to Los Angeles. Brief comments about the political atmosphere in San Diego that hindered the building of a stadium.
Comments about the friends he left behind, and what he likes still about America’s Finest City (robbed of its franchise).
Missing in action were the background stories about how Spanos left at sunset on a January night in 2017.
Missing was the background of the failed bid of a joint Chargers-Raiders Stadium proposal, how the league did not believe in the small money Spanos family plan.
Missing were details of the NFL decision to force Stan Kroenke to share his stadium with the weakly financed Spanos family.
Missing too were updated details on the debt load Spanos has incurred since the move, the numerous bank loans, the impending ugly family lawsuit from his family in Stockton that wants the franchise put up for sale.
The real questions that should have been asked by author Daniel Kaplan, should not have been about QB-Justin Herbert, powder blue jerseys, the new Rams Stadium they are a tenant of.
The author failed to grasp the real story. Questions that should have been asked:
..How come Spanos refused to negotiate with the City-County after they came up with the financing plan to build a co-financed stadium at the Qualcomm site?
..How come Spanos never opened talks with SDSU about a jointly shared stadium that would have brought all the SDSU alums and voters to the poll to approve the CSAG proposal?
..How could Spanos propose a new stadium, at the last minute, on a postage size piece of property next to Petco Park, that would have gone against the grain of what NFL owners have done, new stadiums on big parcels that involve business development-entertainment centers-revenue producers, as part of the NFL’s big business model?
..How could Spanos allow Mark Fabiani to smear-slur the reputations of the family, and all they did for charities in San Diego?
..How come he let Fabiani run a dirt-full campaign on those leaders who spent 2-years working on the CSAG project to build a stadium?
..How come Spanos never spent a penny to try and improve the deteriorating condition of Qualcomm Stadium?
..How come Spanos never stepped up to help finance a new Stadium prior with the G3-Fund program in place, instead demanding a new stadium be built with public funds and gifted to him, as the so-called First Family of Football?
..Did Spanos intentionally undermine the San Diego vote, because he had plans to move to LA, dating back to 2014?
..How come he refuses to talk about the slanderous claims of his sister Dea, who says the franchise is 323M-in debt, has reneged on its Charitable Foundation pledges, and is floating new bank loans to pay off the past bank loans they were forced to take, to move.
..And finally what Spanos has to say to 55-years of family loyalty of season ticket holders, fans, and business associates, who supported a team that has had just 14-winning seasons in 36-years of Spanos family ownership?
Maybe there is a followup column coming with the true facts of the Chargers-to-LA story. Maybe the Athletic will do a better job covering this story, for the football story we got was loaded by softball questions.
They should be shamed for trying to paint a picture of a successful businessman operating in Los Angeles, when most people view him as a clone of Donald Sterling, the disgraced Clippers owner.
San Diego deserved better than it got from Spanos. Deserved better than it got in this lame puff-piece of a column from The Athletic.
Dean Spanos to this day, could have been revered forever, if he helped build a new stadium here. Instead he left at night time, reviled for taking this legacy franchise to a market that does not care about the franchise.
Some legacy he has. Too bad the Athletic did not tell the real story..