The Tennessee Titans are not for sale, and team president Steve Underwood seemed annoyed that he was once again speaking on the subject when it arose on Monday during the teams press conference where Underwood introduced Mike Mularkey as the teams new head and Jon Robinson as the new general manager.
The usually calm and seemingly mild mannered Underwood shot forward in his seat to get closer to the microphone and seemingly make his comment heard when sh issued his most stern statemment yet that the team was not for sale.
“It’s really hard to do that when it’s not for sale. You can have all the buyers in the world, but if there’s not a seller, you can’t sell anything. The team is not for sale. It’s never been for sale," Underwood said. “When you find a source listed about whether or not the team is for sale, then feel free to ask those questions. I know all the sources. They’re the people that own the team. I don’t know how many times we have to deny that it’s for sale.”
Underwood acknowledged that there were issues with NFL Commisioner Roger Goodell concerning the ownership structure of the team.
“The commissioner has mentioned that there are issues with the ownership structure, and we address it on a weekly basis,” Underwood said.
Though the NFL has never specificlly commented on the alleged issues with the current ownership group, that consists of controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk, Susie Adams Smith, Kenneth Adams and Barclay Cunningham Adams, Underwood has acknowledged on multiple occasions that there are issues that Titans ownership is working with the league to correct.
While Underwood once again defended team ownership as to the status of the team's potential sale, rumors continue to persist that the team is for sale. Rumors also continue to circulate that the estate of team founder Bud Adams is mired in some tax issues that have yet to be resolved.
I have never known Underwood to be the dishonest type, and when he so adamantly denies the sale rumors I am inclined to believe him. However, he is also paid to promote the message of ownership regardless of whether that message is true from the top down.
Underwood has likely been asked about the potential for sale by media and fans alike in the halls of St. Thomas Sports Park and in the community at large. It would be understandable if Underwood has become tired of answering a question that he does not want to repeatedly address.
Perhaps we are asking the wrong question.
Underwood has stated that the team is not for sale, and has never been for sale, ok then, let's ask a different question.
Could the team become for sale in the near future?
If rumors are true then that would make Underwood's comments true. It would also allow he and ownership to say that the situation changed, or they decided to sell in the future.
It's hard for me, and anyone else to believe that the NFL or media members- myself included who have sources telling us that the team is for sale- would continue to risk our reputations to keep these rumors alive despite the Titans continual denial.
Could all of these "sources" be wrong? Absolutely, but since there are likely multiple sources disseminating the story, it is hard to believe that all are originating from one source unless that one source is the NFL.
They are the one entity with the power and reach to circulate this rumor and keep it alive.
I believe my source and the authenticity of the information I have been given, and I believe that the information is correct, that the team has been for sale, but none of the sources who have the direct information have agreed to speak on the record.
It's a catch twenty-two that doesn't look like it will go away soon.
Until someone will speak on the record, or ownership announces the team is for sale, it seems likely that we will keep hearing and doing this song and dance.
Here's to hoping the record breaks soon.