As the LA City Council climbs on board with the AEG/Philip Anschutz give away in order to build a football stadium in downtown LA, two things seem clear: 1) The reality of a Los Angeles NFL team is now more likely than it has been since the 1994 exodus of the Rams and Raiders, and 2) The powers that be in LA are uncaring, black-hearted, opportunists, who would steal from their grandmothers and crawl under the covers with the devil to curry favor with their most vocal constituents.
I wrote a more politically-themed post concerning Anschultz on theHoundDawg blog back in April (“Where Politics and Sports Meet: A Tale of the Two SoCal Hockey Team Owners, How They Use Their Billions, and What it Gets Them”), but suffice it to say here that Anschultz, while partially motivated by the bottom line, is now and forever dedicated to advancing his ultra-right wing Christian conservative agenda, and in controlling so much of the Los Angeles entertainment scene, with his Kings, his Staples Center, his LA Live, his hotels, and now his football stadium and likely (at least in some part) his football team, he will be exerting his political and economic influence as he has around the US for two decades now, spending hundreds of millions of dollars to fight against gay rights, to remove the study of evolution from schools, to require the teaching of creationism, and to elect his pet politicians, such as george w bush, to office.
We do not need him in LA, and we certainly we do not need our over-powering lust for a football team to obliterate all rationale thought and give him the keys to the candy store.
And just how ridiculous is it to approve a plan to tear down the Convention Center and rebuild it a block away, so he can build his stadium a block closer to his Staples Center and LA Live?
And what of that football team? How did Ram and Raider fans feel in 1994? For that, matter, how did Charger fans feel in 1960? I was a tremendous Charger fan in 1960, and was devastated when they moved two hours to the south. Well, what about the dedicated fans in Minnesota? Or the Jaguar fans in northern Florida? Or the St. Louis fans who saw a former owner, Bill Bidwell, rip the Cardinals from their guts and move them to Arizona; the same Cardinals that had earlier said adios to their legion of fans in Chicago? And yes, what of the loyal Charger fans in San Diego? Does anyone in Los Angels give a fuck about any of these other fans? Hell NO! Give us a TEAM! Who cares about anyone else!
Bull. We’ve waited since 1994. We can wait until the next expansion.
One more important point we need to keep in mind. In 1996, Peter O’Malley was ready, willing and able to build his own privately funded football stadium next to Dodger stadium, where an EXPANSION team would make its home. At that time, the LA City power structure, led in this effort by Mayor Dick Riordan and Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, had declared that no NFL team would EVER play ANYWHERE else but in the moribund 70-year-old LA Memorial Coliseum. They told O’Malley where he could stick his millions of available non-taxpayer dollars.
The effects of this have had a disastrous effect on the Los Angeles sports scene ever since. First, and least important, LA was never on an NFL expansion list because the NFL knew no professional team would ever consider playing in the Coliseum. So, while teams were awarded to the likes of Jacksonville, Carolina, and Houston, LA stood cut off and out in the cold. Second, was the effect this had on LA baseball.
O’Malley was so disgusted with LA politicians, that he decided to get out of LA sports, and made the decision to sell the Dodgers. The ultimate outcome was the McCourt ownership, but just remember how horrendous the six years of Fox ownership were. The Dodger never made the playoffs during the Fox years, but did so in four of McCourts’ first six years.
Had the Mayor and LA city council embraced O’Malley’s plan, today LA would be in its second decade of having its own football team, not one stolen from another city, and we would have never know the vile Fox ownership nor the corrupt McCourt years.
And Peter O’Malley would be the owner and would be running the show, for both teams.
And we wouldn’t be handing the keys to the city to Anschultz.