Sep 29, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) scores a touchdown on a 56-yard pass play from quarterback Philip Rivers (not pictured) during second half action against the Dallas Cowboys at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Antonio Gates: "You Want to Think That You Have True Fans"

This message is not to anyone that visits this site… at least I don’t think. I know a lot of people are unable to get to the games. I understand it. I understand that the stadium is so beat, that it is a much better experience to watch it from your flat screen at home. The games are expensive and living out here costs some dough. There are all kinds of reasons on why we can’t get to th e games. Everyone on here loves their Chargers, but what Antonio Gates said might come off as offensive.

Here is what Gates had to say about the possibility of the Monday Night Game not selling out:

“It’s unfortunate. You want to think that you have true fans as a player. It’s crazy that it’s hard to sell out a Monday Night game,” Gates said Thursday. “I don’t know what that’s due to.”

For all the Chargers fans out there, you have to admit that are fan base as a whole has bandwagon type tendencies. We have seen these blackouts before and it always happens when the team can’t put up wins. Sometimes we can’t even fill it when we are winning. When we are in the playoff chase, the Chargers game is the hottest ticket in town.

Do we have true fans of the Chargers… yes.

Antonio, you do have true fans. The Chargers do have true fans. There are a ton of us out there. Don’t let anyone make you think otherwise.

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  • PakMaN

    “I don’t know what that’s due to.”

    Maybe the fact that people are barely getting by due to the economy, government shut down, they have mouths to feed, you know.. real life problems? Not everyone is getting paid millions to run a 15 yard route and catch a ball. Ive been a Gates fan but since his comments from the top 100 and now this are really starting to change things quickly.

    • Stefanie Smith

      Good comment, Pak. He can’t even fathom that 2 tickets, parking and a little food is the cost of one month’s sdge bill for some folks making $16 an hour. Let the electric and gas go and go pay a ton to watch the Chargers quite often lose. It’s not fun. It’s like going to Barona and gambling money you cannot afford to lose and feeling like crap afterwards. Not fun at at all.

      And heaven help you, if you want to take your kids to the game also.

  • kris

    Agreed Pakman, these comments are changing my opinion of Gates.
    Look, Football in the end is a business. They sell a product for people to purchase.
    If a company (the Chargers) are putting out a sub par product (a shitty team, especially with Norv and AJ), as a consumer, I will not purchase this product. Now this is coming from a die hard Bolt fan who at one time was a season ticket holder who traveled 5-6hrs each way for every home game. I am a true fan and will always love my Chargers. I also have a garage full of memorabilia totaling thousands spent over the years. However, I have not spent any money on Chargers products for the last couple years. Why? Because until the leadership change this year and the product that was being delivered, I didn’t feel they earned my money. Firing Norv and Aj was the first step, but rebuilding this team is going to take some time, as well as, changing these players soft mentality. Until the Chargers start producing a better product, I will watch Sunday ticket at home in my old Sproles jersey ;)

    • PakMaN

      Chargers are a company, we are the customers, and Gates is an employee.
      What company allows their employee to bad mouth the customers?

      • jv

        How is it bad mounthing wondering were the fans are, id say its disappointing to be the only team with so many black outs, and in a way,.thats insulting

        • Stefanie Smith

          We are not the only team with so many blackouts.

  • joerockt

    Gates is full of shit. 0-4 Pittsburgh is ranked 27th in attendance this year so far. No one want’s to spend their hard earned money watching a garbage product on the field, especially in a working class city like Pittsburgh. The Jets and Giants rank much higher because there are 10′s of millions people in the tri-state area, so more of a chance to sell tickets, even to a losing product. SD county population is around 3 million, so it doesn’t even come close.

    Really Gates? You really don’t know what its due to? How about going to Oakland and playing like complete garbage? If the team isn’t fired up to try and win a game, why should we be? That Oakland game was a pathetic showing and ticket sales pay the price because of it.

    • Stefanie Smith

      Cause and effect. When you play like crap what do they expect? There was no excuse for that Raider game. I swear they are not practicing much now. They all have injuries come Wednesday. How do they expect to get better when they are not practicing for whatever reason they have each week?

      • jv

        Stef and joe, quit it, just say you lost interest in the team and moveon, stop worrying about the injuried, being injured isnt a lack of dedication, how about comment negative at the end of the season and move on

        • Stefanie Smith

          What are you talking about? We care enough to expect them to do better. You move on. You have no clue what you are talking about and whether or not I am going to the game, a season ticket holder, etc. You move on. I love the Chargers.

          • jv

            Exactly, love is backingup your boys good or bad, poor or rich, just like if you have a little one in sports, we all cheer for them no matter what, sportsmanship goes both ways ;) trust me rivers qbr is right under mannings this year, they will pull through

  • Stefanie Smith

    Maybe Antonio should buy up a few hundred tickets and pass them out. Many of the players can’t relate to working people with financial constraints,.

    • Mark G

      It is sad that he is only aware of the fans in the seats in SD. I am in SC and traveled to JAX to see them play – and there were a lot of Charger fans – as there will be this year – and that was a Monday Night game, with a LOT of empty seats. Oh yeah, it was the Jaguars, but I don’t think their record was much worse than the Chargers that year. Gates just doesn’t sound very humble to be able to play a game for a living. This is entertainment, not an essential need. We can live without it. BUT I will be up late watching Monday Night!!

  • Stefanie Smith

    There are many teams that are not selling out, but they are on that 85% seats sold deal, that the Spanos family turned down. They did not want to give up anything so that games would be shown on TV.

    • arnie

      Thanks for Brining that up Stefanie. This organization had an opportunity to take the NFL up on a deal that would allow this team to not worry about Black Outs. I assume the League Office presented this, in understanding to the hard economic times we’re all going through. Which i find interesting, since ticket sales are in the minority of revenue for the team. Box seats and “in Stadium” advertising bring in the the money from home games and TV Advertising brings in the Bulk. Which you would think the organization would want to do anything necessary to make sure there sponsors Ad are seen. However there was a catch…..
      Look the Bucs are not very good, but they are did what they thought was best to “keep interest” of team up.

      • Stefanie Smith

        Raiders did the plan also. I don’t know the specifics, but they have to turn over more revenue to the NFL or something. Spanos family turned it down.

        • arnie

          It’s in the article. They have to spilt HALF of tickets sales over 85% with the visiting team. The Chargers know Cowboys will have a good draw, so now they will not have to spilt any money earned even if the stadium is only at 90% capacity.

          • Peter Thompson

            Too bad that dick Greg Schiano is their coach, and they are effing Bucs fans that way instead.. lol.

          • arnie

            They should’ve never fired Rahim Morris.

  • blu3ny3llow

    You got a true fan here… and I ain’t even from San Diego… just gotta face the fact that a lot of “San Diego ” Chargers fans are like the Philly fans….I guarantee if we would of whopped on the would of been sold out by now….don’t get me wrong I’m not saying there aren’t True fans in SD…I’m saying there us a shit load of bandwagonersjust like here where I’m from….and no I’m not a season ticket holder.. I’m lucky enough to go to 2 games a year…I could understand why ppl wouldnt want to spend money for loosing product(I guess)…..but to me that’s beside the point ppl get all negative an wanna give up on everything..wanna trade everyone away…just say n though…..BREAK YA ANKLES….BOLTZ UP

  • JayWantsACat

    Some of us don’t live in San Diego anymore, and yet, still stay engaged with the team, players and other fans through the means available to us. Like buying merchandise. Like visiting sites, such as this one,, UTSanDiego, and others on a daily basis. By ordering NFL Network so, when not playing the Raiders or Niners, we have a chance to watch the team that we love. And by having discussions about the team and players, both online and in person.
    I won’t say ‘eff you’ to you ‘true fans’ comment, Antonio, because I like you too much as a person and as a player and I know you’re just frustrated. As are we, the true fans. But it is completely unfair because of all the reasons listed by Ernie and, more importantly, its just not remotely true.

    • Stefanie Smith


  • Dave O

    Anyone who’s gone through what we’ve all gone through in the last three or four seasons, and is still a Chargers fan, is a true fan no matter what anyone says. After going through all the ups and downs and BS that this team gives us, if you’re even looking at this site then you’re a better fan than most. Many people would give up on this team but we never will.

  • jv

    Cant believe how many babies on this comment board throwing excuses about the economy and one terrible loss to the raiders. Thats what makes me sick, how terrible the raiders are and people still go to that dump and cheer for their team. Economy hit is on everyone not just in san diego. You go to have fun with friends family and if you want to go for cheap, get nose bleeders and tailgate. Im glad gates commented on this and all of you bandwagoners could go jump on the payton manning and broncos wagon and watch them beat up on baby teams on your jumbo flat screen up until they play chargers and kc. Then youll be putting on that jersey…

    • Stefanie Smith

      It’s odd you equate loyalty with spending money.

      • jv

        You dont have to be rich or even a fan to enjoy a game, theres nothing wrong with watching it at home, but its the fans that do go but wont go because they lost to a rival team. The onesthat go only when they win… The team feeds off of the fans from the stans and when they look up and realize that theres more cowboys jerseys or raiders jerseys in their own house, its disapointing and frustrating. I live in l.a and im not even middle class, but i love to go the home division games… Go bolts!

  • PakMaN

    Its quite simple really… Lets look at it from a business prespective. Chargers are a company, we are the customers, and Gates is an employee. What company allows their employee to bad mouth the customers?

    • Stefanie Smith

      It is sort of disappointing to think he equates “true fans” with how much they spend and whether they fill a seat in the stadium. That’s how much he likes the fans…Count plenty of poor people out of Antonio’s “true fan” category.

      • jv

        im surd that’s not what gates ment stef, im sure its disapointing for him to play at home, look up to see more rival jerseys and empty chairs than home fans, you forget the meaning of home field advatage, they feed off of fans

  • Stefanie Smith

    There is a video going around about a guy who was an avid Bengals fan. His son bought him a jersey signed by Andy D and all that sort of stuff. The guy got his FIRST tickets to the Bengals’ game from his son. I hardly think the man is a baby or doesn’t have his priorities straight or is a band wagoneer. Actually he started crying when he got the ticket.

  • 619chargers4life

    Let em know Gates, such unloyal fans we have . Damn military town.

  • arnie

    You know what, this reminds me of another Charger player (RM24), that was asked a simple question and gave an honest answer. I expect this from any player since they don’t listen to anything outside the building. Ask any player if they believe they aren’t working hard and they’ll dis-agree with you. That’s his perspective. They have to believe what they are doing is the good and right. To Gates or, any player, the outcome is, “…Oh well that’s football”. From the fan perspective, all we have IS the outcome.
    My point is i’m not going to throw stones at Antonio for giving an honest answer. I’m a Charger fan for decades now and i haven’t been able to afford to attend a game in years. Yet i still wear his Jersey and support the team. The question i would ask, from a fan perspective is, Are you doing enough to win? if yes, then i follow up with, What is the proper way to secure the football? Did you make sure your teammate understood their routes? Are you blocking the DB/LB when it’s run play? if the response is “you’d have to ask coach…., i follow with No. i’m asking you? because you have to play and it’s called “accountability”. And maybe, just maybe after they looked at the “outcome” and went th extra mile, They might be 4-1 instead of ” oh well that’s football” 2-3.

    • Mark G

      Damn Arnie, you hit that one out of the park! To see a 4-1 team, more people would be motivated to give up some entertainment money to go to the game. You know what kind of show Tom Petty will put on for a $75 ticket, but The Chargers…hhhmmm?

    • Stefanie Smith

      Honest answer – fine, but he was insensitive and his answer had no understanding of the Chargers’ fans or who they are. It was rude, arnie. He was not thinking before he answered.

      You’re right on, arnie, but Antonio is not.

    • Gunnar Martin

      Spot on man.

    • Nick in PB

      You said it Arnie! I will say that against the Texans, growing pains. Still a brand new staff. You’ve got players that are still learning and you have coaches that were also learning how this team would respond. I can’t blame the coaches for putting the game in the hands of a defense that was pretty decent last year. By the Tennessee game, the injuries were starting to pile up which caused the complex of the game to change. Against the Raiders… we just imploded. Came out flat, got rattled and came apart. The winning culture that had eroded under Norv, will take time to change. It would help if we weren’t lining up our second and third team players all over the field.

  • mike yale

    That’s what happens when your team is in a military city. You get the runoff of fans from across the nation. The economy blows and everything is expensive. If Gates didn’t play professional sports and make the money that he does I’m sure he would understand.

  • Aaron Johnson

    I used to have season tikets and i dropped them because the stadium/security cant control fans of either teams. I, for one, am not paying damn near 100 bucks (if i go alone) to have beer spilled on me, curse words thrown my way and then have to try and enjoy what little football i can see from a mile up in the stadium. Anyway, its more than money for a lot of us fans. Yeah, I can afford to go but I choose not to because the ROI is low even with a 14-2 season. I enjoyed myself more during an 8-8 season at home.

    And yeah, I have 2 kids that love football but I would not expose them to that stadium. And the family section is a joke, i tried that package one year and rather than having families up there it was mostly people who wanted the cheap seats. Many people arrived already drunk and no one enforced any of the family section rules even after I made a complaint. Its a joke.

    Im a real fan as far as im concerned but im also a real person. Oh and the 100+ I shelled out for another jersey was worth the money compared to a single game ticket.

    • Robi C

      Aaron, We are season ticket holders and experienced stadium/security issues also. I hope you made it known and filed a complaint with the stadium. I filed a complaint and have been quite surprised at the results from the Chargers. Official complaints are the only way our voice will be heard in order to get things to change security wise.

      • Aaron Johnson

        I filed 2 official complaints but the problem… no one is addressing the problem on a large scale BEFORE it happens. Any changes they make or made that day did nothing to prevent the problem for the next game.

        If it was just my wife and I we can deal with it but with kids… its a nightmare scenario.

        That being said, I didnt really talk about how I dont blame Gates. As mentioned above San Diego is a strange town to be a fan of sports in. It has to be strange for a player not from San Diego too. They are used to the unyielding support from highschool to the pros. In San Diego, the fandom yields because of the transplants, military personnel etc. It has to be frustrating for the team to play home games on a neutral site.

        I also agree that winning cures all so hopefully this lights a fire under our teams ass and they show up Monday ready to show (if not blacked out) fans why they should come to games. It wont change people like me but even I go to at least 1 game a year now.

    • Gunnar Martin


    • Nick in PB

      You make a good point Aaron. The stadium. I’ve been to other stadiums around the league and they at least have the broadcast playing throughout the stadium. When I go to a game, the best part about it is tailgating with friends and family. Beyond that, I’d much rather hear the broadcast, see the game, get the replays on my big screen. Even when I go to a game or watch it from a bar, I still record it so I can watch it with sound.

  • Stefanie Smith

    Also, whether they can’t help it or not, but is it any wonder people are hesitant to buy tickets when everyone is sitting out of practice? It’s looking bad.

  • phobos57

    These players apparently have no historical perspective as it relates to what this fan base has been through with this team through its history. I’ve been watching the Chargers since 1967 and I’ve seen it all, the good and the bad. The problem Antonio is that most of it’s been bad. We’ve been through this so many times before – the listless play, the heartbreaking losses, the playoff failures. The names and faces have changed but it’s always the same old sad script. That thing this past Monday – if I didn’t know better I’d say Norv was still coaching because it looked the same. The same listless attitude, the same stupid mistakes, the same inept defense. People on this board have offered all sorts of ideas, many of them valid, as to why the team isn’t supported as some think it should be. My take is that the fans in this town are just mentally worn out. Deep down we know that eventually this team is going to screw up because that’s the way it’s been so often in the past. I had season tickets for 26 years but I can’t do it anymore – not because I can’t afford it (though that part is just North of ridiculous what with the price of tickets, parking, and concessions) but because this team has broken my heart too many times, so I’ll just watch on TV when I can. It just seems like things are never gonna change for the better.

    • Stefanie Smith

      “Mentally worn out” – good way of saying it.

  • Alex Pitrofsky

    Why do Charger “fans”need to be like this. This is so fucking frustrating. I agree with Gates, real fans would be nice. We are the only team in the NFL with this problem.


    I’d be at the games all day if I lived out in SD. I stay in the bay and still manage to watch every snap of my team. True charger fan all day. I live in the east bay straight Raider territory and no one says shit to me about my team without me giving them shit back.

  • Tom Spalsbury

    A true fan ? Well lets see. What does my profile say ? Antonio just remember where you are. So.Cal. Now there’s a lot of folks from elsewhere outside the state.And tho’s folks still root for there hometown teams.Not to be mistaken for So.Cal. Locals that root for No.Cal. teams but yet never been to No.Cal. Ever ! Tho’s fan are the fake fans.And they’ll be buying tickets when the Chargers stop CHOKING ! So as the So.Cal.Locals that root for No.Cal.Teams there your true Bandwagon fans. Have you ever noticed there’s less and less Raider fans and more 49er fan’s now ? These locals only follow winners. But as for me Chargers all the way !

  • Joel Ayala

    I’m not mad or take offense what Gates said .. I understand they want the house packed to cheer them on. I personally can’t afford the tickets so there’s nothing I could do. I wish I could go. man I love the rush of the game. IMO.

  • Daryl Peek

    Let me first say, to each their own as fans. Support the team the best way you can, that fits your lifestyle and finances more importantly. The bandwagon term is used too loosely IMO.

    I will also say this though, fan bases like Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Green Bay, Minnesota, Philly, both NY teams, Washington and Dallas always seem to show up for the most part, and it’s not just about winning traditions historically in those sports markets. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying those teams don’t have their share of empty seats at times when they field bad teams for long periods of time. There’s always a dip when a team is losing but our BOLTS just had one of the most successful stretches in team history over the Butler/AJ Smith era. We were only ten years removed from our first Superbowl appearance when the wheels of that era really got to churning. We were facing multiple blackouts during that run? Were just now into our first year, post that era. Were not much better than Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit or Tampa when it comes to fair-weather fan base perception. Jacksonville is the worst but they get a pass due to being one of the newest franchises, and they are absolutely horrible in their FO.

    The stadium plight is an indication of how dedicated SD is about football and sports in general. As a Daygo native, I want to think my hometown is a major sports market but looking at the big picture (BOLTS, Clippers, Gulls, Padres, Sockers and the fact we have no soccer team in the MLS) of total sports history, its not.

    It’s gonna take a fanatical dedicated owner like Dr. Jerry Buss was with the Lakers or Jerry Jones with the CowBUMS to endear San Diegan’s to the Chargers like those fan bases are. Buss and Jones clearly committed to those markets. They found what the city wanted and catered to it. We’ve never had that level of sports ownership completely immersed into trade area courtship, like that in San Diego. Magic is following their city wide courtship model of total commitment with the Dodgers currently. So is the Russian billionaire in Brooklyn (Prokhorov) with the Nets.

    Most of us die hard’s would truly miss the BOLTS if they bounced, but the large majority of the city would say kick rocks, like they did with the Clippers.

  • Peter Thompson

    Dear Antonio,
    I’ll see ya at the Giants game, homie! I worked hard all year, and (little by little) put away my money so I could come see yall. Might even be able to do two games, despite a heavy year of unforeseen expenses. I gave up some “luxuries” so I could make that happen, but it is worth it no matter what the outcome. I’ll be wearing my favorite jersey, too. You just keep playing the way you do, and that’s enough for me. You have been a PLEASURE to watch on this team over the years, and still are to this day. I am proud to wear your lightning bolts, because in my eyes…. nobody can match your level of dedication, performance, class, & integrity. You make me a proud Bolt Fan!!!
    Keep Bolting Toward Excellence, Big Man!!!! HOF, make room for Antonio Gates!!!

    • Daryl Peek


    • Nick in PB

      Good job Peter. I’m not down on Gates at all.

  • Gunnar Martin

    I totally get what Gates is saying. It’s Monday Night Football for crying out loud. This team deserves to have an advantage when playing at home, especially for prime-time games, and the fans are a huge part of that. It is true that our fan base (for the most part) is not the most loyal in the league. It’s unfortunate. However, as EP already said, it’s understandable when you look at all the conditions. I personally consider myself about as loyal a Bolt fan there is, but I can’t get to games because I live in Utah. It sucks that I can’t support my team to the max in that regard.

    So Antonio, just know that there are very valid reasons for the lack of people coming to the games. You still have true fans rooting you on. It’s not ideal, but as a player, you just gotta go out there and worry about your job. BOLTUP!!!

  • Ignatius

    Sigh… Of all the people on the team Gates was the least of them in my mind that would say something like this and just like the fumble from the Chargers PR Director a few years ago, it just makes me sad.

    We are not true fans just because the Monday night game is going to be blacked out? What about the Houston game I went to with my girlfriend and cough up $250 big ones just to see the team sink at the very end? But in Gates’ eyes it’s this game that counts to name us untrue fans.

    Fortunately I don’t root for players nor administrative personel, I do not carry jerseys with players’ names on the back nor chant their names during play, the reason I root for the team is because they represent the fine city of San Diego and to me it’s not a Rivers and Gates’ win, it’s a San Diego win again whomever crappy city comes in our Stadium.

    So maybe Gates has some truth in his words, we are not true fans of the players but true fans of the team that represents America’s finest city and if the team wants to put my butt in a plastic seat, it doesn’t have to shove me a players’ posed photo, it only has to do one thing: WIN.

    Otherwise, i’ll keep my hard earned money and use it for other means like new tires for my car, a fancy dinner with the missus or buy a new recliner because mine’s all beat but by my tantrums during Chargers’ games.

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  • Bill Nichols

    Come on people….. How about a winning attitude for us fans as well, or
    at the very least some positive support of our beloved Chargers. ?.?.?
    We all love the team, or else we wouldn’t be on this site, each and
    everyone of us wants a winning team, we want to get into the playoffs,
    and we especially want a ring. What, are we going to wait until they get
    close, or wait until they get to the AFC title game to really, really
    support our team? Karma says, we will never get there, because we as
    fans, do not deserve it. Cause all we do is bitch about AJ, and Norv,
    and Rivers, and Mathews, and even the new regime. Come on, let’s change
    our luck / Karma, and become a real fan base. Do not give me that “I
    have been a fan since the 50s – 60s”, cause me too. So what can it
    hurt?? Bolt Up!

  • Nick in PB

    Ok, everyone, I know where Gates is coming from. It has to be disheartening for a player to have a home game, on the big stage, and not sell out. Even more disheartening when the stadium has fans of the other team cheering against you. That get’s to me too. But there is 2 sides to every story. If we had beaten the Raiders… sellout. I have no doubt but there are still a lot of Charger fans that have experienced this type of disappointment too many times. I have been a Charger fan since I moved here in ’93 and the last 10 years have been the most exciting and the most disappointing. As fans, we saw a force of a team, get dismantled from the coach on down. The past 2-3 years, we’ve seen us lose games we should have won and mostly because we beat ourselves. I had no faith in the coaching staff under Turner and thus attended 1 game in 3 years. Sundays game was a visit to a place we are all trying to forget. Like all of you, my optimism and renewed faith was sky high, but I was still taking a wait and see approach with this team and damn, now it’s an injury problem that is going to be hard to overcome, period. Monday Night Football is another story altogether. You pretty much have to leave work early, and in some cases, come in late the next day. This is San Diego. If you have a job, you want to keep it. Few of us are comfortable in this economy. If we had won Sunday, I think I might have taken that chance and got tickets for Monday night. Anyway, that’s my story.