San Diego’s quest of keeping the Chargers took a hit on Tuesday. That’s when Eric Grubman, the NFL’s big cheese of franchise relocation, gave San Diego a laundry list of stadium items to complete.
San Diego thinks it can cross off these issues which raise a red flag on Park Avenue. But it’s a yellow flag which needs to be heaved at the Chargers: Is there a penalty for stiff-arming a city which has supported the NFL since 1961?
While San Diego was painting a pretty picture of the pow-wow the real wow is what wasn’t said: Grubman guaranteeing the Chargers join the movement to stay put.
What Grubman didn’t stress when meeting with city, county and state officials is that the Chargers will negotiate. You know, actually sitting down to hammer out a deal.
The city is always a nail getting pummeled when working with the Chargers. But at least it got them to the table for these dismal deals.
Remember the $35 million ticket guarantee?
Remember the out clause in their Qualcomm lease?
Remember the city writing the Chargers a check for playing in San Diego’s facility instead of the other way around?
With that background, it’s amazing San Diego wants to do business with this bunch. But that’s the lure of having an NFL team to call your own.
But whenever something positive was offered during this stadium dance, the Chargers sacked it. If only they could do likewise with rival quarterbacks.
Grubman gave a dour assessment of what San Diego needs to do.
He threw water on the idea San Diego could expedite the proposed venue’s environmental impact report.
He scoffed at voters potentially approving $600 million of public money to pay for the sports palace.
He didn’t like the county skirting the rules to produce its financial share of the costs.
He said San Diego’s weather isn’t good enough — OK, just seeing if you’re paying attention.
But the storm clouds this stadium front has produced grew darker on Tuesday. The hurdles that remain — not to mention the lack of a willing second party in this endeavor — are higher than Mount Soledad.
Cross you heart and hope they’ll fly? That’s the city’s position with Grubman’s concerns. He all but knocked San Diego off that foundation of its promise it can get ‘er done if you believe a letter leaked by our own Dan Sileo.
The NFL is good at many things and aiding its franchises to ensure the highest return is paramount. Grubman made it clear that if the city falls short on any obstacles, the Chargers lose out on Los Angeles.
Please know San Diego is dealing with the devil in preventing the Chargers from returning to the City of the Angels.
If San Diego’s hard work of late at keeping a mediocre team isn’t good enough for the NFL, well guess what? It’s not good enough.
It’s clear the NFL isn’t going to wait for San Diego to get its house in order. Never mind the endeavor is drastically more challenging with the Chargers being an obstructionist at every turn.
We get it: the Chargers sought a downtown location.
But you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you’ll get what you need: which is a new stadium.
Instead, L.A. seems closer than ever as the Chargers’ potential new home.
Still the city hasn’t relinquished hope and maybe that comes from so many years of rooting for the Padres.
Keeping the faith, though, is easier than keeping the Chargers.