NFL’s Eric Grubman, my ceramic cat plant holder, and why they’re connected.

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I’ve been staying up to date on the Chargers/Los Angeles stadium issue, but I’ve been keeping my distance from it as well.

I’ll read the stories, I’ll listen to the interviews, I’ll check Twitter for some analysis and insight from names I trust (who have been doing a heck of a job covering the issue).

Other than that, it’s like an annoying ex-boyfriend. You might wave if you see each other, but you aren’t stopping for conversation (most of the time, anyways) because you remember how much he exhausts you with his needy ways.

It isn’t that I’m not interested in the stadium saga; rather, my take on it is that until Dean Spanos and Kevin Faulconer are standing next to one another at a joint press conference between the Chargers and the City of San Diego, ain’t nothing to see here, folks.

That’s right. Keep it moving.

Until that happens – or until there’s an announcement that the team is leaving – there is mostly only speculation, assumptions, posturing and an attempt to “leak” information to help one’s particular position.

Still, when Eric Grubman speaks, I tend to linger a little longer.

Grubman – the NFL point person for relocation – is a bit of an enigma to me. He sorta has the look of a distinguished movie star or wine sommelier (I know, a bit of a contrast there). He’s intense, but also strangely approachable. He’s also someone who doesn’t waste words. He pauses before he answers a question, so as not to give away too much or add an adjective when it isn’t necessary. As someone who can sometimes waste the English language, I appreciate his restraint.

Between juggling the questions surrounding the Chargers, Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams, I’m surprised he hasn’t slipped more and accidentally let a secret slide.

But, he hasn’t. Not that I know of, anyways.

Calculated, that Eric Grubman. Calculated, but not rude. I’m telling you, an enigma.

Anyways, Grubman came on the Mighty 1090 on Friday morning to talk with Dan Sileo, who peppered him with questions about the latest in the stadium situation. Here’s a few things I thought were mildly noteworthy (keeping in mind my original stance on the whole issue):

Regarding the notion that the Chargers aren’t willing to negotiate:

Grubman:

“You based that on the premise that they’re not at the table and there’s no negotiations going on and I don’t agree with that. Negotiations can go on when one guy says I’ll pay $10 and the other guy says I’ll pay $5, but negotiations can also go on when one guy says I’ll pay $10 and the other guy says [he’s] not responding to that. That’s also a negotiation. The Chargers clearly haven’t seen anything they like so far, but that doesn’t mean they’re not open minded.”

My take on this is … don’t you have to haggle? Like if I want a better price on my ceramic cat plant holder that I find at the Swap Meet, don’t you have to tell the person selling it what you’re willing to pay? Either the Chargers have given the City an alternative and we don’t know about it, or Mr. Grubman needs to come to the Swap Meet with me. Actually, he should probably do that anyways. Because he can keep a good straight face – much better than I can – and he’ll probably get me a better deal on my ceramic cat plant holder, if we’re being real.

Sileo asked if we can expect the league to delay a move to Los Angeles until 2017:

Grubman:

“That implies that we’ve made the decision to do it in 2016, and that’s just not right. What we’ve said all along is that we’re trying to get back to Los Angeles in a way that will make everybody proud. And to go back to Los Angeles, we want to make sure that we’re doing it in a way that maximizes the probability of success. If we can do that in 2016, we will; if we can’t, we won’t. Maybe that means 2017 and maybe that means some other year. But right now, we have geared all the league work to enable us to get back in 2016. Last year at this time we were doing all the work to enable us to get back there in 2015. But we never said we’re going to pull the trigger and we’re still not saying we’re going to pull the trigger. I don’t know when we’re going to do this but the probability is going up because we’re making good progress.”

I will say –again and again until the cows come home and the fat lady sings — that the NFL will not take Los Angeles off the table until it squeezes the most it can out of it for all of the teams involved, whether in their home market or elsewhere. It is the biggest bargaining chip they have. (Side note: don’t you love how Grubby talks? That implies that we’ve made the decision to do it in 2016, and that’s just not right. Firm. Direct. Succinct. Monotone, but in a calming sort of way. It shouldn’t be so captivating, but it is, I tell you. I think he’s hypnotizing me but I sort of like it.)

Sileo also asked if fans have a right to be upset that they haven’t heard anything from Dean Spanos regarding the matter, to which Grubman replied:

“Whatever the fans think is right. Having said that, Dean Spanos has spoken up regarding his franchise. Sometimes it’s not with words, but when he’s done the types of things in his community, when he’s done the types of things to put talent on the field and in the front office and in the coaches office, he’s speaking.”

Grubs. Come on. Just … Grubs. Seriously. We were on a roll there — I had your back on the other ones — but this one, I don’t know if I can support. I maintain that I think Dean — and his family — want to be in San Diego. They like it here. They have houses and grandchildren and connections that go far beyond the football field. They’re the big fish in the little sea. That doesn’t mean they won’t go to Los Angeles, but that they truly did (or still do) want to be here. But who cares what I think? I’m a crazy cat lady. Fans care what Dean thinks. They want to know they still matter, regardless the outcome. They want to know their loyalty and passion and money and time hasn’t been for not. If Dean addressed the fans, it would go a long way. It might not change the end result — he can’t make any promises — but it would go a long way.

The next step in this whole ordeal is expected to come in October, when NFL owners will be updated on the progress of the teams and also of the sites involved in Los Angeles.

I’ll be keeping an eye on it as I water the succulents in my ceramic cat plant holder.

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