Philadelphia Writer Stands by His Story

Almost immediately after a Philadelphia Daily News report broke the news that Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver was actively looking to sell his team, Weaver issued a statement downplaying the reports. Find out more about the other side of the story, including what the Philadelphia writer has to add…

Wayne Weaver appeared to speak clearly about the current status of his football team, and he reiterated the firm stance he's taken over the past several years that the Jaguars are currently, nor have they ever been for sale.

"I just wanted to, in light of all the reports that came out last night, to just clarify that I'm not selling the Jaguars," exclaimed the Jaguars owner in a Thursday press conference. "The team is not moving to L.A. (Los Angeles). I don't know how I can say that any more clearly than that. Everybody wants me to sit here and speculate on the future. I'm not going to speculate on the future. At some point maybe I would sell the team, but not now. Whatever happens in the future, I can assure you one thing: The Jaguars are going to be the Jacksonville Jaguars."

Whereas that news is certainly comforting to Jaguars fans all over north Florida, Paul Domowitch, the Philadelphia Daily News writer that broke the story about Weaver's wishes to sell, doesn't think the team's future is so concrete.

"Weaver has been trying to sell minority pieces of the team to cut his costs for a while now," Domowitch told Sirius NFL Radio. "He had some talks with other potential investors break down a month or two."

Domowitch referred to his report that Weaver has had trouble finding potential suitors for his franchise—

"It's extremely difficult to find someone that's willing to be a minority owner of a football team right now. Investors that are willing to put up the type of money that it makes to have a minority ownership want to have full control over a franchise."

Domowitch believes that a deal could be in the works with former Pinnacle Foods CEO C. Dean Metropoulos, in which Weaver would stay on as the Jaguars owner as Metropoulos purchases a minority interest initially, then more of the team until he assumes controlling interest.

"Metropoulos is trying to negotiate a deal," said Domowitch. "It will be a deal where you buy less than a majority interest and the previous owner stays on, and then he buys more interest in the team over the next few years. Metropoulos is taking with (Wayne) Weaver right now about a deal in which he'd buy 30% of the team, 30% the second year, then become majority owner in the third year."

Weaver eluded to the fact that he considered an investor not that long ago to try and reduce the team's expensive debt service--

"If you remember, we went out to refinance some debt and our consultant that we hired to help us through that process recommended the easiest way to do that is take on additional investors, or an additional investor. We chose not to do that. I'm not going tell you that I don't have, from time to time, people calling me inquiring if I have an interest in selling a minority interest. That's always an option, but if I ever do that it will be with someone that shares the same commitment and passion to winning football and being a part of the Jacksonville partnership."

Some see that last statement by Wayne Weaver as a possible out, in which he earlier said that the team wasn't for sale.

"Weaver denied selling the team, but if you read his statement it was a non-denial, denial, said Domowitch. "He admitted he's been talking to investors and he's trying to restructure some of his debt. The franchise is in difficult shape right now."

It's easy for Jaguars fans to dismiss a Philadelphia sportswriter's take on the situation, being that he doesn't cover the team exclusively. At the same token, he doesn't have a proverbial "dog in the race," and someone with his credentials would certainly not make up a story.

There are usually three sides to every story. Wayne Weaver doesn't want anyone to believe that his team is for sale, and rightfully so. That could cause major negative public relations around the city of Jacksonville, and with the team struggling with ticket sales, negative PR is certainly something they don't need. Still, just because a sportswriter 1000 miles away wrote a story in which a billionaire investor denied any interest in purchasing the team, it doesn't mean that the Mayflower trucks will be moving in and the Jaguars new zip code will be 90210.

The Jaguars struggle with selling premium seats, there is no stadium sponsor, and the north Florida economy is poor. These are just the facts. Is the team moving? Not this year, but where there's smoke, there's usually fire.

Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.

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