As the NFL checks the boxes for relocation by conducting town hall meetings in the cities that would be affected by the looming movement of one or two teams to Los Angeles, the process shifted on Wednesday night to San Diego. And the Chargers have released a copy of their remarks at the forum, which makes even more clear the team’s intent to leave for L.A.
“Over the 14 years the Chargers have worked to find a way to build a new stadium in San Diego, we have attended hundreds of town halls, community meetings and fan forums,” the team’s presentation states. “Throughout all this time, though, at least one thing has been clear: The failure to come up with an actionable plan has absolutely nothing to do with the great Charger fans. The fans are certainly not to blame for the fact that, over the years, one elected official after another has been elected after promising ‘no taxpayer money for an NFL stadium.'”
So while the Chargers stopped short of blaming Chargers fans, the Chargers are blaming those San Diegans who have elected politicians who have made good on a vow to not devote taxpayer money to a new stadium. Which means, in essence, that the Chargers have a problem not with Chargers fans but with San Diegans who have voted for politicians who have not been responsive to the efforts to build a new stadium.
“[W]e’ve tried everything we could think of to find a stadium solution,” the Chargers explain in their comments. “We made nine separate stadium proposals. . . . So it is incredibly unfair that the Chargers’ great fans are now bearing the brunt of the decisions made by politicians over the last 14 years.”
The fact that the fans are bearing the brunt of anything means that the Chargers are indeed on the brink of bolting for L.A.
The comments also outline the team’s position regarding the city’s latest proposal, which hinges the project on an environmental review process that would be fully concluded and litigated well after it’s too late for the Chargers to leave for L.A. if the effort fails.
“Under the City’s quickie environmental review plan, the City takes no risk,” the Chargers state. “If the City’s plan loses at the ballot box, or is struck down after several years of litigation by the courts, the City loses nothing other than the taxpayer money that will go to the successful plaintiffs’ lawyers. So, if you are the City, why wouldn’t you bet on even a small chance of winning, because if you lose, you don’t really lose?
“The Chargers, on the other hand, are being asked to assume all of the risk. The team bears all the risk of losing the election, or losing the [environmental impact review] challenge in court. The franchise will have wasted several years of time, given up a certain opportunity in the Los Angeles market, and, when all is said and done, likely squandered whatever negotiating leverage we had in San Diego.”
In other words, the Chargers and San Diego are at an impasse — and the only option for the Chargers at this point is to move.