Americans move around a lot, and I mean a lot. We're probably the most mobile group of people in the world. It's what we do; it's about freedom and self-determination, and perhaps most of all, it's about taking advantage our inalienable right to pick-up and move someplace else to get a new start in life. Hardly surprising coming from a nation of immigrants.
So why is it so bad when a football team wants to move for at least the possibility of greener pastures?
Because the fans of those teams invest a lot of themselves into the game. Arguments over beer and pretzels are rarely about players and coaches. If you listen closely to the subtext, they are about good-hearted people defending something they wish to be true about themselves. Perhaps they are stereotypes, but something must be said for the blue-collar grit of
This peculiar institution of almost total private ownership over the majority of professional sports teams has given rise to a virtually exclusive American phenomenon. Elsewhere in the world team movement is a concept few understand. Having explained to my British friends why there is a team in
We wouldn't expect a museum moving to
The perennial pseudo-crisis of a team moving to LA has again cast fear and loathing over our football loving friends and sometimes foes in
If profit is the motivator, then let's take it away.
No one really expects a museum or an orchestra to make a profit, they're not supposed to. The value of those institutions is to make life a little more enjoyable and give us something to do when were not working 50+ hours for the guy in the suit. Football is no different; it's an important social event that helps us to experience something larger than ourselves. It makes us better social creatures and makes us give a crap about something other than colour of own lawn. The amount of friendships created just over a football game is staggering; not to mention its place in race relations and the history of this country - football is the tie that binds. So why do we sully this fine institution by letting a chosen few do as they please?
Perhaps here would be the paragraph where I bash the league and the owners, or perhaps I'll go Marxist and blame all those duped capitalists for believing their own hype, but I won't. The fact is, we do it to ourselves.
I'm not advocating full public ownership because in a fast changing market like football, good leadership is needed at all levels. This just doesn't happen in the management-by-committee approach. However, would it be so bad to have 51% public ownership to prevent teams from moving and give public opinion real teeth through voting rights? If we learned anything from Enron and all the other recent accounting scandals, is that the Ivory tower management approach is corrupt by design. What's needed is not more regulation but more transparency.
You might think there is nothing that can be done and this is just how the system works, but the system, whatever that is, wasn't something some guy in the dark glasses came up with after the Second World War. It's something we buy into