LA Chargers News

Los Angeles Chargers owners: Just accountants, or accountable?

By Dennis J. Hassell
SAN DIEGO, CA-OCTOBER-14: San Diego Chargers football team owner Dean Spanos and his son John Spanos follow the action against Indianapolis Colts at Qualcomm Stadium October 14, 2013 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA-OCTOBER-14: San Diego Chargers football team owner Dean Spanos and his son John Spanos follow the action against Indianapolis Colts at Qualcomm Stadium October 14, 2013 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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Fans believe that it’s a  pure game. But the game should be called Monopoly.

In a previous Los Angeles Chargers editorial, when I wrote that NFL owners are sadly not accountable, a commenter wrote, “How about you keep your opinion of the Spanoses to yourself?“.

Although I was referring to all NFL owners, that warning, even if from a fake persona, was like a ref’s blown call to Philip Rivers:  it cannot be allowed to stand. Thus inspired by an anonymous sneer/snub/snicker, here is my take on the Spanos ownership — and this may surprise you:

Don’t blame Spanos for taking the Chargers to L.A.

Q:  “What?!  Why not blame ownership, which was demanding many millions from San Diego taxpayers to stay?

A:   Because it’s always, always been about money first.

From founding owner Barret Hilton to Gene Klein to the Spanos dynasty, all Chargers mythology is monetized — or at least, money comes first.

Fandom is rife with delusions: one myth is that we fans are part of the game, we belong to the team, the team belongs to us, and somehow our support affects outcomes. Another common belief is that there are invisible bonds between owners and fans and players. Fans believe that it’s a  pure game. But the game should be called Monopoly.

2.  San Diego civic government scorched the earth for a decade, from its extinction-level financial malpractice,  so the partnership was not going to happen in a viable way. City Hall is also all about money. So are taxpayers. And the Chargers were paying millions in taxes — WERE paying taxes.

3. Fans should ask City Hall, what were the Chargers worth to the local economy? How much taxes and jobs are the city getting from the Chargers now? How many hotel rooms and meals are paid for by visiting fans now?  Finally, Spanos Inc. did make an offer and San Diego taxpayers said no.  And that’s fair to each side.

4.  Dean Spanos is jumping the shark

Dean Spanos, the owner of the Chargers, looks on from the sidelines. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Dean Spanos, the owner of the Chargers, looks on from the sidelines. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

The Spanos’ have taken the risk, not the fans. They are not buying what might become a white elephant, but they are leasing it for years and years. Their business has an astronomical challenge to become relevant on the L.A. sports scene and not become the NFL’s version of the also-ran L.A. Clippers (another former San Diego team).

And as for the Chargers’ chances of holding on to superstars like Derwin James — do you think Lebron James would stay if he had been drafted by the Clippers? King James didn’t stay with his hometown Cavaliers when they were in losing eras — twice– and I predict the same for James when his rookie contract is up.

It doesn’t help that the Los Angeles Rams made it to the Super Bowl with a young emerging team, or that Kansas City has a franchise quarterback,  perhaps a once-in-a-generation quarterback, in Patrick Mahomes, for likely the next 15 years.

The Spanos’ ARE accountable, and they ARE accountants because it’s their money, their legacy, not ours.

More from Bolt Beat

Many San Diego sports fans might imagine their boycotting of the Chargers in L.A. exacts some revenge. How? It’s like yelling at an effin’ Fabiani Ferrari who cut you off in traffic: he doesn’t care.  You will see the flaming wreck of his vehicle soon enough, so…

Let it go. 

Let it Go, Let it Go, Don’t hold it back anymoreLet it go, let it go, Turn back, open the fridge doorI don’t care what they’re going to sayLet the storm rage pastThe address never bothered me anyway 

Please take a breath, and never forget that you live in San Diego, not L.A, KC, Denver nor Oakland, nasty Foxborough, etc.  You have already won the biggest championship. It’s not the Chargers’ address that’s vital, it’s your address.

In San Diego, you don’t even need to watch football.  You can play it year-round with your friends and family like the Rivers family does.

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