Gayle Benson has no plans to stop referring to herself as an NBA and NFL “owner”

Getty Images

The NBA has moved away from the term “owner,” as recently confirmed by Commissioner Adam Silver. Gayle Benson, who owns both the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans and the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, has no plans to refer to herself as anything but an owner.

Via Nathan Brown of the New Orleans Advocate, Benson issued a statement indicating that she does not plan to change her title as “owner” of either team, even though she acknowledges that she is more of a “caretaker” of the franchises.

“As with any word, phrase or expression, interpretations can be perceived differently,” Gayle Benson said in the statement. “That is in many ways why diversity, inclusion and openness is so important to companies and society. As with any expression, my intention and the intentions of the organization I am responsible for is never to be insensitive or insulting.”

Silver has said that the NBA “moved away from that term years ago at the league” level, and that the NBA now refers to “team owners ‘governor’ of the team and ‘alternate governor.'” Silver said that he has perceived “mixed reactions from players regarding the use of the term, which has received criticism over the years for having racial connotations.”

Gayle Benson doesn’t believe that a racial connotation, or any degree of sensitivity, exists.

“I truly believe daily actions speak very loudly, and it is my sincere hope that the players and staff know how much I care for them and their families,” she said in her statement. “I sincerely hope no term that attempts to define my corporate standing would in any negative way suggest a lack of caring, respect or admiration for that they accomplish every day — leaders, teammates, colleagues, parents, mentors, citizens.”

Gayle Benson inherited the team after the death of her husband, Tom.

“I have said over and over I don’t see myself so much as an owner but more of a caretaker to the incredible assets that I have been so fortunate to lead,” Gayle Benson said in the statement. “My intention has and continues to be building on my husband’s legacy, making the assets better and creating a better community for our employees, fans, and citizens.”

This isn’t an easy question, because there’s nothing immediately or obviously offensive or problematic about the term “owner.” The context, however, can give rise to discomfort. Thus, if it’s easy to come up with a different label that means the same thing, why not do it?

Who does it harm if the term is slightly modified? If any actual or perceived harm comes from the use of that term given the reality that most “owners” are white and most players (in both the NBA and NFL) are not, the easy — and right — thing to do is come up with a different word.

It’s really not that difficult. What’s far more difficult, frankly, is getting really rich and powerful people to do something they simply don’t want to do, usually because someone far less rich and/or far less powerful is trying to get them to do it.

28 responses to “Gayle Benson has no plans to stop referring to herself as an NBA and NFL “owner”

  1. The world has gone mad. It is shameful the amount some people read in to things. If you’re the owner of a business, you’re the owner of the business.

  2. This is the most rediculous thing ever. You own the team, not the players. This is just common sense and has been for decades. The PC police are stretching it now.

  3. This whole issue is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard. The NBA commissioner is leading his league into the gutter. He has no back bone and bends over backwards to make sure his players are “happy”. Hopefully this doesn’t rub off on the NFL.

  4. Peak Political Correctness has been achieved; enough! Continuously changing the language to avoid some perceived offense is nothing more than Orwellian “Newspeak”. If you don’t like the term “owner” for the head of an enterprise that owns the stock, then don’t own one.

  5. nba players need to get over themselves. You pay that much to own a team, you get to be called an owner. No wonder that nba game is dying, entitled players colluding to form “super teams” what could go wrong there.

  6. This has been ridiculous since it was brought up. No owner is going around saying they own this player or that player, they own the team and the players play for the team. It’s no different than the owner of a store or company, they own the store/company but not the employees.

  7. I get that the term “owner” can have a perceived negative reference. I really do get it, however, it is getting harder and harder to not offend someone saying almost anything.

    I went to my son’s HS summer league basketball game the other night. Music was playing loudly during warm-ups. Multiple times, the Nword was used in the music. How is that not offensive but this is? Would someone be offended if my son then sang or rapped that song while he was warming up? I also get a disadvantaged group taking control or power over a word, but if it is getting so overused as to be commonplace, where is the line of offense to be drawn?

  8. Good for her this PC crap needs to go. She owns a franchise that employees football players that makes millions of dollars. Has nothing to do with slavery.

  9. People own houses. People don’t govern houses. Same thing with a franchise. Ultimately, a franchise is an asset. People own assets.

    We have gone stark raving mad in this country over innocuous words. You can choose to be offended by anything and everything, if you really want to live that way.

  10. A Player can quit at anytime, pay back bonus money and go work at the mall. Only people that are owned are the ones that buy into this PC BS.

  11. gayle benson hasn’t owned the saints for the past 2 years. the vikings and rams have.

  12. I’m going to tell the guy who owns the company I work for that I am offended at referring to him as the owner.

    I’ll let you all know how that works out for me.

  13. curbstompkareem says:

    June 26, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    gayle benson hasn’t owned the saints for the past 2 years. the vikings and rams have.
    *************************************************************************************

    Last time I checked the Saints “OWN” a Lombardi trophy. Do the Minnesota Viking or the L.A Rams (not the St Louis Rams) own one?

  14. So, if they are now governors, can we vote them out?

    When is Martha Ford up for re-election?

  15. By putting out that statement, she is making a political point which gives credence to the notion about the underlying ownership connotation. Controlling shareholder, there are all other names that she could use.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.