Falcons owner Arthur Blank is playing this one straight by the script.
After reports earlier this week suggested that the Falcons had been approached by interested parties in Los Angeles during their pursuit of public money for a new stadium,
Blank has now denied he has been contacted at all.
“I was never approached,’’ Blank told Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com. “My team was never approached. If someone in Atlanta, outside of the Atlanta Falcons was ever approached, I have no idea.’’
Blank also issued the obligatory statement of unwavering loyalty to his home market.
“We’re committed to Atlanta, the city, the region and the state,’’ Blank said. “We’re making progress on our deal working with the [Georgia World] Congress Center, the Mayor’s office, the Governor’s office, the community and doing all the things we need to do to get the deal done with the city of Atlanta.’’
Blank and the Falcons have been working for years on a new building in downtown Atlanta, with the usual hang-ups over who’s going to pay for it.
“I think we’re in a good place,’’ Blank said. “Obviously, it’s a very complicated deal and a big investment. You’re talking about not only an NFL franchise, but all the legacy events – the opportunity to produce a facility that would compete for the Super Bowl, compete for the BCS Championship, compete for the World Cup and create a change that would be very important for Atlanta. We want to create a solution that works for everybody and I think we’re in the process of doing that. It takes patience and time to come up with a solution that works for all the parties.’’
And as in the case in nearly every one of these dances, vague threats of L.A. are leaked by someone and then denied by the team, just to remind everyone in Georgia just how valuable the local professional football franchise is.