It is true that the Chargers have told Commissioner Roger Goodell and multiple owners that the team will move to Los Angeles. It is also true that the team does not regard the decision as final because it has not been officially communicated to the team’s staff or to the relevant public officials.
The end result is one of two realities. Providing information that the organization had to know would be leaked represented a deliberate trial balloon or a P.R. debacle. Possibly, both.
Having the news get out via outsiders who blabbed to multiple reporters is no way to properly disengage with local customers on whom the Chargers may rely to make the drive from time to time to Inglewood. Unless the last-ditch effort to stay in San Diego wasn’t waiting for the outcome of Wednesday’s joint meeting of the NFL’s stadium and finance committees but monitoring the reaction in San Diego and Los Angeles to the news of a move.
Will this final, not-final threat to leave be the I’ll-turn-this-car-around-right-now moment that convinces the kids that the car really will be turned around? If there’s ever going to be a local solution, getting out the word of a relocation while the relocation can still be reversed would be the best way to give the tree one final, violent shake.
The leak also gives the Chargers a chance to see how they’d be welcomed in L.A. Based on this column from Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times, the arms (and thus the wallets) aren’t wide open. The next question is whether calls from 310 and related area codes will instantly be made to the Chargers’ ticket office on Thursday morning with ticket inquiries for the 30,000-seat StubHub Center.
It’s also possible that the Chargers are indeed leaving with no chance of staying and that, after months and years of uncertainty and negotiation and failed efforts to build a local stadium and planning for this specific moment, the Chargers poorly miscalculated the reality that telling Goodell and multiple owners that a move is coming would quickly make its way to the media.
Regardless, a moment that many saw coming (and it’s cute to see those who saw it coming try to claim credit for being right all along after getting scooped last night) is now here. Sort of. Kind of. Not officially yet.
Which means that the Chargers either handled it poorly. Or brilliantly. Or both.