Dean Spanos is not a popular man among the Los Angeles Chargers’ fanbase.
Appearing at an NFL event in the buildup to the Chargers’ Monday Night Football game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Mexico City, Spanos, the team’s owner, addressed a gathering of fans. He was greeted by a hearty mix of cheers and boos that gave way to exclusively jeers once he started speaking.
Spanos was the man who engineered the Chargers’ controversial move from San Diego to Los Angeles. Many San Diego fans were left bitter, and the team has not really attracted increased support after the move. This is hardly the first time the Chargers owner has taken heat from his own fanbase, but it’s certainly clear evidence that those old wounds haven’t healed at all.
One thing has been clear in the buildup to the Chargers’ first game in Los Angeles — there’s a lot of animosity toward owner Dean Spanos.
There were multiple instances of protest against the controversial owner, who engineered the team’s move from San Diego to Los Angeles.
There were the people who managed to get anti-Spanos signs into the StubHub Center and display them with pride, drawing a lot of attention from like-minded fans.
Even more prominent was the plane that flew over StubHub Center about two hours prior to kickoff, raising the question of whether Spanos is the worst owner in sports.
Spanos said repeatedly that he wanted to stay in San Diego, but many fans saw that as lip service to disguise his real motives. The antipathy remains, arguably stronger than ever.
Chargers owner Dean Spanos asserted his desire to get a deal done with San Diego so the team can stay.
The team is pushing for a ballot initiative to secure taxpayer money for a new stadium, and with the team now having a year before they have to make a decision on a Los Angeles move, Spanos says they are working hard to stay where they are.
“Whatever we need to do, we’re going to do what we need to do to get this done,” Spanos said, via Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “We’re trying as hard as we can. I can’t do it myself. It’s going to take the effort of the mayor; politically we need support. The business community needs to step up. I think once we have a definitive plan in place they’ll get behind us and support us. It has to economically make sense for the voters, and I think (the business community) will help make that case down the line and they’ll support us.
“Our product on the field will be helpful,” Spanos added. “4-12 isn’t going to help much.”
Is this a case of Spanos seriously wanting to stay in San Diego or just saying all the right things? It’s hard to tell. He does sound optimistic, however, which is something of a change in tone from Spanos.
The Chargers will play in San Diego in 2016, but the future beyond that is hazy. They’ve struggled to gain the support they need for a new stadium, and have a preliminary deal in place to share a stadium in Inglewood with the Rams if they so desire.