Dean Spanos is a liar. That’s what I have determined after reading all of the schlock being slung by the San Diego Chargers and their owner’s minions regarding his attempted move to Los Angeles. As the slow march to the Bolts moving up Interstate 5 continues, Spanos, his family and the NFL have continued to lie about the situation in San Diego.
Before you think I’m just a bitter San Diego native upset to see the football team I have always rooted for bolt up the road, I’ve actually brought facts to the discussion, something that Spanos and his lackeys have failed to do.
The statements coming from the team and its chosen mouthpiece, Mark Fabiani, have been dishonest, disingenuous and in the end, disheartening. For those who don’t know, Fabiani’s previous claim to fame was being the spokesman for other bastions of truth like the Clintons during their many White House scandals, Lance Armstrong, and Sheldon Adelson. So far during this process, Fabiani has been caught in a pretty serious lie at least once, while also spewing half-truths, making asinine statements and generally treating San Diego as if it were Chernobyl. And this has been going on for years. Bear in mind, the 58-year-old political strategist and “crisis management expert” has been relentlessly ripping the city he calls home, as he lives in La Jolla.
Fabiani is a proctological exam in human form.
What follows are some of the gems the Chargers have fed the public, fellow NFL owners and the league about their current situation in San Diego.
The Chargers claim they have had nine stadium proposals that the city has rejected
As San Diego Union-Tribune opinion director Matt Hall said last week, calling those “proposals” is an embarrassment to the word. Only one of them truly rose above the level of a Spanos fever dream. I mean, if I hand a real estate agent $100,000 and tell her I demand a 12-bedroom mansion in Malibu, that’s not so much a “proposal” as it is the ramblings of a man who is clearly having a psychotic break or suffering a pretty serious stroke. That’s on par with what the Chargers have “proposed” over the past 15 years. Hall’s Twitter timeline has a good look at the offers the Chargers made.
The only workable proposal was a stadium in the Mission Valley area of the city, next to where Qualcomm Stadium currently sits. An updated (and improved) version of that deal has been put on the table by the city of San Diego right now. Spanos has outright rejected it.
Chargers lie in relocation proposal
From leaked portions of their relocation proposal sent to the NFL, we know the Chargers claim the path to a viable stadium in San Diego is blocked politically. The roadblock? The fact that the public must approve a stadium by a two-thirds majority for it to happen. Two-thirds? That is crazy and almost certainly wouldn’t pass! The problem? That statement is false.
The city’s proposal would not include a tax increase on the citizens of San Diego, therefore the July 2016 vote would only need a simple majority to pass. San Diegans overwhelmingly support a new stadium if there is no tax increase. Spanos and the Chargers know that and know the measure would pass easily. So why lie? To convince other NFL owners that there is no path to a stadium in the city and that Los Angeles is the only answer.
Clearly this lie worked very well, because Roger Goodell says there is no workable path to a stadium in San Diego thanks to the need for a vote.
Chargers have yet to prove they get substantial business from outside San Diego
One of the main talking points Chargers reps have pushed is that “25 percent of the Team’s season ticket members live in Los Angeles and Orange Counties and the Inland Empire.” That claim is used to back up the fact that if the NFL moved another team to Los Angeles, the Chargers would suffer financially.
Apparently we’re all just supposed to take that a face value, because the Chargers have refused to present any documentation to prove that claim. In fact, they’ve never even tried to show they get any business from outside San Diego County. Given the previously disproved statements we can confidently place this in the “false” category as well.
Chargers claim they negotiated in good faith
San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer has backed a proposal for the aforementioned Mission Valley site that actually works perfectly. The plan includes $350 million in public money ($200 million from the city and $150 million from the county). The remaining cash would come from the NFL ($200 million), the Chargers ($362.5 million) and seat licenses ($187.5 million). The only real holdup is the previously discussed June vote, which would almost certainly pass because it doesn’t include a tax increase.
So what happened when the city proposed that stadium and sat down to negotiate the ins and outs with the Chargers way back in June? Spanos cut off talks. That’s not negotiating in good faith. In fact, it’s the opposite.
Spanos has poisoned other owners against San Diego
Houston Texans owner Bob McNair, a long-time Spanos buddy, was supposed to meet with Faulconer to discuss the city’s plan to keep the Chargers. The day before, he spoke to the Houston Chronicle and said the following:
“They’ve had all kinds of problems there. At one time, half the council went to jail or something. It’s been pretty bad. It’s hard to negotiate when you’ve got to go to jail to negotiate. So they haven’t accomplished anything.”
McNair then promptly canceled his meeting with Faulconer.
Man, having half the city council go to jail is really bad, and yeah, it’d be hard to negotiate with guys in jail. Good point, Bob. One problem: you have zero idea what you’re talking about.
Yes, San Diego had a corruption scandal and one city council member (Ralph Inzunza) served a 15-month sentence in prison. Even that would be a terrible reflection on the city’s political climate, if it hadn’t happened more than 10 years ago.
Spanos knows the facts of the case and clearly has zero interest in the truth being told here.
Chargers refuse to make relocation papers public
Despite cries from San Diego’s media outlets to publicly publish the entirety of the Chargers’ relocation request to the NFL, Spanos and his team have refused to do so. Why? Because the leaked portions of the report are so full of inaccuracies as it relates to San Diego and the efforts of the city to build a stadium. The Rams made their proposal public, yet the Chargers haven’t.
That shouldn’t be surprising, Spanos is notoriously thin-skinned and has yet to face the media with regards to the team’s relocation plans. Instead, he has done one interview…given to his paid employee on Chargers.com. That’s it. If he has such a righteous cause and he’s such a sympathetic figure, shouldn’t he go public and explain himself? Surely he’d earn sympathy if his case was as strong as he claims it is.
As for what Spanos has to say to the San Diegans who have supported his family and the franchise he owns for more than 50 years? Let me give you a direct quote: “I’ve said everything I have to say.” Classy guy.
So what does this all mean? Well, not much. NFL owners want two teams in Los Angeles because each owner who moves owes the league $550 million in relocation fees. Sending two teams to LA puts an extra $1.1 billion in the pockets of the league’s other owners. They don’t care about facts, fans, how this move will be perceived or the long-term success of it. They want that cash.
Spanos has the right to relocate his franchise, but you can understand why so many in San Diego are angry over this. He has turned his back on the town that gave him hundreds of millions of dollars over the years and always supported his team even when he put a garbage product on the field. Despite all this LA nonsense clouding the team’s future, the Chargers ranked 19th in the NFL in attendance this year, filling the stadium to 94.6 percent capacity. The Raiders (86.5 percent) and Rams (80.2 percent) can lament a lack of fan support, the Chargers absolutely can not.
Spanos also somehow doesn’t see the fact that no one in Los Angeles wants the Chargers there. Fans in the area want the Rams and/or the Raiders back. If the Bolts move up the road to LA, Spanos will pay $550 million to move, untold millions more to build at stadium, then share the market with what will be a far more popular team. He’ll be lucky to get the fan support enjoyed by the 1990s Los Angeles Clippers, especially considering the price of attending an NFL game. The man is delusional if he thinks he’ll enjoy even half the support he currently gets in San Diego.
Once the novelty wears off for the Chargers, I (and most people) have a really hard time seeing a path to long-term success in Los Angeles. The move makes no sense but Spanos is so hell-bent on making it that he is willing to sacrifice his entire fanbase to make it happen. The man has ruined his reputation, destroyed his credibility and revealed himself as nothing more than a money-hungry liar who is willing to screw over the same people that embraced him for decades, purely for his own gain.
I’m at the point now where I’m resigned to the fact that Spanos is moving the franchise to Los Angeles and the only NFL team I’ve ever loved will no longer exist. But given how Spanos and the Chargers have acted throughout this process, I have begun to not care. Good riddance to him and his family.
Mr. Spanos, you don’t deserve to be in San Diego anymore. Liars like you aren’t welcome in “America’s Finest City.”