Pop open the nearest window, and if you’re lucky, you’ll catch the stench of an NFL billionaire owner before he flees town, or fleeces the town.
Speaking of which, how is it possible that, in a sprawling nation that spans nearly 3.8 million square miles, two of these billionaire crumb bums — Stan Kroenke and Dean Spanos — can wind up in the same city on the same block?
Los Angeles is not La La Land, it’s a Botoxed Billionaire Boys Club.
Kroenke didn’t get the new stadium of his dreams in St. Louis — public funding was muddled — so he took his Rams to L.A.
Spanos didn’t get the new stadium of his dreams in San Diego — public funding was denied — so he took his Chargers to L.A.
Mark Davis also didn’t get the new stadium of his dreams in Oakland — alas, public funding woes — and also wanted to take his Raiders to L.A., but three’s a crowd, so he’ll just decamp in the Los Angeles suburb of Las Vegas, with the help of $750 million in Nevada taxpayer money.
(For the record, Davis is not a billionaire, so he could cry poverty with a loaf of bread under each arm a little more credibly than Kroenke or Spanos.)
The thing is, there are 325 million Americans — not including undocumented immigrants who voted illegally for Hillary Clinton — and only 31 NFL owners, so how is it that so few have power over so many? Well, one reason the rich keep getting richer is that they keep reaching into the poor’s pockets and emptying out their wallets.
I give you the NFL’s 21st-century blueprint for success: You pay, we play.
And for the past generation, NFL franchises continually have found ways to get communities to finance their new palaces.
(For folks with no farming background, it’s amazing how well NFL owners know how to milk a cash cow.)
Ah, but the good people of San Diego, via the ballot box, finally jumped onto Couch Slouch’s faltering “No More Stadiums, With or Without Tax Subsidies” tour and said nay to the NFL.
Before we continue on that front, let me speak briefly, as a longtime Los Angeles resident, on our fine fortune — or pitiful plight — of now having two NFL teams:
We don’t want the Chargers, and, frankly, we didn’t want the Rams back.
You think we’re pining to see the Rams and the Chargers every Sunday? The only winner here is DirecTV, which will pick up scores of new subscribers in the L.A. area seeking to watch other games on NFL Sunday Ticket.
By the way, trust me on this: Los Angeles can support 623 Jack in the Box locations but it cannot support two NFL franchises.
Okay, back to America’s Finest City.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “I know Dean Spanos and his family did everything they could to try to find a viable solution in San Diego.”
Uh, what Goodell meant to say was, “I know Dean Spanos and his family did everything they could to try to extort the taxpayers of San Diego for the cost of a new stadium.”
Goodell intimated that Spanos ran out of options, other than the option of paying for his own damn stadium.
I love Ben & Jerry’s, but if Ben or Jerry came to me and said, “Hey, we’d like to stay in the neighborhood, but to do that, we need the neighborhood to foot the bill in building us a bigger, better store three blocks away,” I assume my reaction would be, “What are you, nuts? I’ll just go get some ice cream at Safeway.”
We keep acting as if these professional sports franchises are a public trust. They aren’t. They’re businesses run by wealthy businessmen who aim to make as much money as possible.
Many in San Diego are in mourning when they should be in merriment; the great, tanned unwashed stood up to a billionaire seeking a public handout and, in the process, rid itself of Spanos.
So, yes, San Diego no longer has a professional football team, but that’s not the worst thing in the world — it’s not like the town lost the Pacific Ocean.
Q. Conservatively speaking, I’d say a penalty or foul could be called on two-thirds of every NFL and NBA play, yet 90 percent of the time the offender shakes his head or throw up his arms in disbelief. Is that how your first two wives reacted as they walked out the door shortly after marrying you? (John Estanich; Monrovia, Md.)
A. You were at both weddings?
Q. If you were Carmelo Anthony, would you waive your no-trade clause with the Knicks to get out of New York? (Timothy Egan; Houston)
A. If I were the Knicks, I would waive Carmelo Anthony to get him out of Madison Square Garden.
Q. Grubhub or StubHub? (Meredith Andersen; Palm Springs, Calif.)
A. I prefer to eat Toni’s cooking and I prefer to watch games on TV.
Q. Someone should tell Derrick Rose that, when he finishes being hurt for the Knicks, the Wizards will give him a 30-year, no-cut max contract. (W. Johnson; Linville, Va.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
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