Thursday, November 10

The real loser in the NFL - no its not TO

The coverage of Terell Owens' debacle has been rife in the sports media all of last week. While T.O. may have really come across as a loser in the whole ordeal, there is a bigger loser in the NFL. His name is Tom Benson.

Mr Benson is the owner of the New Orleans Saints. After the pummelling of New Orleans and the Saints Super Dome by hurricane Katrina, the city has not witnessed a game by the Saints. While the team struggles losing its "foster home games", revenues from ticket sales have dried up for Mr. Benson. But before we all feel, oh so sorry, for this multi-millionaire septagenerian, we must all remember that Mr Benson has long enjoyed the benefits of a super sweet deal in which the state of Louisiana, upon Mr Bensons whining, built the Super Dome using tax dollars, and let Benson reap the benefits. While the city limps up and tries to stand on its feet, this southern gentleman chooses to kick it in the shins by demanding for a more state of the art super dome and threatening to take the team outside the state otherwise. The Saints have been in New Orleans and in Louisiana since 1967.

The success of sports leagues and teams could be attributed to the process of capitalistic enterprise, but in this endeavour, somewhere somehow, hearts and minds of fans get captured and the beauty of a team's identity can only be attributed to a sense of belonging - belonging to a people. It is a sad state of affairs when the owner of a franchise forgets that the franchise is also a team, with fans. Fans who paid for the stadium which generated income for him, fans who have lost everything in the wake of the biggest hurricane to hit their city, and who are at risk of losing whats remains as a shard of their identity. As one fan succinctly put it "we lost everything in the hurricane, the Saints, they're all we have left".


Anonymous Cler said...

Hi Pankaj,
Being from South Louisiana, I appreciated your statements. Shortly after the Hurricane, my friends from other states were telling me Benson was considering relocating to either L.A. or San Antonio (where he is now). It was interesting that it wasn't making local news, until about a month after the hurricanes.

I believe the news media did well by the people in that aspect (even though we were finding out). It would have only hurt people that lost everything even more in New Orleans.


10:44 AM  

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