Remember 2015? When the San Diego Chargers desperately wanted to move to Los Angeles? When the only voice that the fans heard from the team was that of Mark Fabiani?
Not to dip my toe into a much larger conversation, but the Spanos family hiding from the media and letting Fabiani be the face of the franchise at least contributed to those "poor home crowds" (which were still sold out, but many of the people in the stands supported the road team) that the Chargers players were complaining about last week.
Since the announcement on Friday that the San Diego Chargers are still a thing that exists, and that the team would prefer to work out a deal here rather than run to Los Angeles, the Spanos family has been everywhere.
- Here's Dean Spanos doing a video interview with Chargers.com's Jordan Beane
- Here's John Spanos on with Scott & BR
- Here's John Spanos on with Judson Richards
- Here's Dean Spanos doing a video interview with KUSI's Paul Rudy
That last one is particularly notable. Dean Spanos doesn't do interviews with anyone but his own employees. At least, he typically hasn't. Now he's sitting down with a local TV station?
And....AND!....his one request for the interview was that they focus on the future and not bring up the past?!?
Mark Fabiani, who spent every single interview he ever gave (to anyone who asked him for one) talking about the past, must be spinning in his grave right now.
The fact that Fabiani won't comment on whether or not Dean has fired him, the fact that Fabiani isn't doing any interviews anywhere, and the fact that Dean has decided to make his family the face of his stadium campaign instead of some hired goon, should lead you to one conclusion. Mark Fabiani has been "fired".
He's probably still getting paid, because the Chargers definitely don't want him as an enemy, but I am willing to bet he's been given orders from the Spanos family to walk away from this situation until they ask him to come back (if they ever do).
On to the breakdown of the KSUI video!
- Someone told me the other day that Paul Rudy mentioned me by name on KUSI. So, hi Paul! Good job getting the first sit-down with Deano.
- On the very first question ("Has it been hard to see your name dragged through the mud?"), Spanos is already showing that he has the ability to handle this media blitz. He says it has been hard for him (aww, now I feel a little bad for him), but immediately pivots and says it's been hard for the fans as well (woo, he knows we exist and he cares about us!), and then says he's happy to have a fresh start to work with.
- This is the anti-Fabiani rhetoric. Spanos is talking about hopeful things. He hopes the City and County will support his efforts. He hopes to get something done in San Diego. There is some vague lurking shadow of Inglewood in the background of his words, but he never ever mentions Inglewood or Los Angeles at all in the entire 7+ minutes, nor does he cast any sort of threat at the fans/voters. This is what everyone has been asking for.
- Dean says he thinks the $100M in cash from the NFL is the limit when pressed on if it could go higher. Concrete answers!
- "This is not my stadium or the Chargers stadium. It's something for the city to be used multiple times throughout the year." Oh yeah, he's talking to you, voters.
- Dean says nothing has been decided between Mission Valley vs. Downtown, but both he and the local politicians are open to both ideas and are talking/researching to figure out which offers the best solution. However, he (definitively!) says that he would prefer downtown, if it's a possibility.
- I loved the moment where Dean was basically saying he didn't know the Mayor ("But he's a nice guy! We're cordial!") and then says he's known Ron Roberts for 25 years, "and we have a different relationship." Something tells me this deal is going to get done over beers on the 19th hole between Dean and Ron.
- "I wouldn't say I am THE guy, but I'm going to have to be out there promoting and selling this to the voters." My viewpoint on this is Dean is going to use his entire family for this, pushing a nice "family man" image along the way.
- Dean says they're looking at two sites (duh). He says that they're going to come up with a financing plan that works for the Chargers, and then he'll see if it makes sense for the City/County (duh). He says that the Chargers will probably do some sort of Citizens Initiative (duh). He says the goal is a vote in November (duh).
- Nice parting shot from Dean, as he calls on the "San Diego business community" to align itself with the Chargers, the City, the County, and the fans to get this done. That's bait for the hoteliers, I think.
All in all, I thought Dean Spanos was fantastic. I think he thought he needed Mark Fabiani to get to Los Angeles, and he may have been right about that, but he's realized that Fabiani is only going to hurt his cause in San Diego.
I'm willing to accept that Dean tried to move the team to Carson. He's a businessman trying to do what was best for his business.
I also believe him when he says he wants to stay in San Diego, as long as there's a deal on the table that is beneficial (profitable) for his business. Whether or not that deal exists is what we're about to find out.
Either way, I am quite happy to see Dean putting his face and family out there to tackle some of these issues head-on, and I think he'll win back a fair number of San Diego Chargers fans as a result.