Chargers Editorial: An Open Letter to Dean Spanos

Mandatory Credit: UT San Diego
Mandatory Credit: UT San Diego

Dear Mr. Spanos,

The Chargers belong in San Diego.

Let me first make clear that I do not have any stadium proposals to pitch to you. I am not writing to you as a business consultant. Nor do I claim to offer you any legal or political advice.

I am writing to you as a fan, one who has lived almost his entire life in this city. I am a fan who has supported the Chargers for as long as he can remember, and will continue to support them for as long as they stay in San Diego.

As you know, the city has the longest sports championship drought in the United States, having not won a major sports championship since the Chargers’ AFL title win in 1963. Since then, there have been no World Series championships, no Super Bowl wins, and no NBA titles. No San Diego team has since paraded down the streets of Gaslamp Quarter, and no championship confetti has fallen at The Q. No Charger has hoisted the Super Bowl trophy, and a Padre logo has never graced the front of a World Series ring.

In spite of this, San Diego fans support their two remaining teams with every beat of their sun-stained hearts. We proudly don our Charger blue and gold and cheer them from the first kickoff until the dejecting end of their latest playoff run. We take the trolley to Petco Park and wear our blue-and-white/orange-and-blue/yellow-and-brown and chant “Beat LA” until the grandstand shakes.

That is why I can declare – with absolutely no bias – that San Diego has the greatest fans in the country. We have not won a championship since LBJ’s first month as president, but that has never stopped us from having faith in the future. San Diego is, and always has been, a proud sports city.

For San Diegans, sports are highly personal. Our teams represent our hometown and the city we love and live in. We feel proud when we hear San Diego mentioned on national television. No one dares talk badly about our teams, because that would be a diss on our city, and effectively, a diss on who we are as people.

Nonetheless, the recent stadium talk has discouraged us. From the announcement of a possible stadium coalition with the Raiders, to the continued, fruitless meetings between the Chargers and the City of San Diego, it is beginning to feel like little progress is being made to keep the Bolts here. It seems that each day, the Chargers move an inch up the I-5, edging closer and closer to a home in Carson. With each headline of a failed stadium proposal in San Diego, comes a further sinking feeling that our Chargers are slipping through our fingers.

I speak with many Charger fans on a near-daily basis. Almost all of them reflect this sense of dejection. They feel that the fate of their team is out of their hands. “It’s business,” they often remark. “It’s POLITICS.” We toss around these buzzwords like second-string quarterbacks toss footballs in mini-camp.

Is it business? Sure. All NFL owners, including yourself, are businesspeople. Business, in turn, is about making profit. With the ubiquitous opportunity to make profit, the sports industry can make for a great business.

Apparently, Los Angeles is seen as a lucrative market for the NFL. Perhaps you agree. Perhaps you have solid intentions of entering this market. After all, a good businessman entertains every option, especially one that has even the smallest chance of producing a positive yield.

We know that sports is a business, and building a stadium is both business and politics. But here is the one thing that I ask you to remember – business is about the people. Every person who wants a successful business must realize that people are the driving force behind every success. From the Robert Krafts of the world to the independent insurance salesmen, every business endeavor revolves around its customers. Your father must have known about it when he sold sandwiches to migrant farm workers in the San Joaquin Valley, just like your grandfather must have known when he opened his bakery in Stockton many years ago.

In every industry, people are the heart and soul of business. It is really that simple.

The Charger fans are your customers and your people. The San Diego Chargers organization is your product, and we love it very much. Over the past 55 years, the customers and the product have been linked. We love, support, and believe in our team – and that alone is what has kept us coming back for more.

If you remove our product from our city, the link will be destroyed.

Perhaps in the end, you will decide that entering the Los Angeles market makes the most financial sense for you. Maybe you will one day be proud to announce the “Los Angeles Chargers” and the hope you have for their future. Maybe you will feel that your fan base in LA will compensate for the one you will lose in San Diego. Maybe you will feel that moving to LA is just the right thing to do.

Whatever you choose to do, we will accept it. But until then, please be assured that we will fight tooth-and-nail to keep our Chargers in San Diego.

I know you will do what is right.

Yours respectfully,

Philip Tacason
Fan of the San Diego Chargers since 1993

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Philip J. Tacason
San Diego native and former London, UK resident, now living in San Francisco.

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