Dear Los Angeles Chargers,
Please, please don’t move to London, England. You and I both know that your mediocrity is not entrenched in the city where you play your home games. It’s because of your players and executive personnel. But that’s another issue altogether.
I know that your owner, Dean Spanos, used several expletives to describe The Athletic’s bombshell report that the NFL discussed the possibility of moving a team (perhaps yours) across the pond. While I believe Spanos’ feelings toward the matter are genuine, his intentions are less clear.
In 2017, you moved to Los Angeles from San Diego, where you had played since 1961. While you had hoped that it would spark increased interest in your average franchise, the exact opposite happened. In 2015, you were the proud owners of the 20th highest total attendance in the NFL. Now, you are dead last in that category.
Obviously, the move wasn’t the answer to subpar attendance. Do you really think another move to a different continent would be better?
I know that I’m picking on you even though Mr. Spanos denied ever wanting to move to London. You’re just the unfortunate team now entrapped in a longstanding plan to move an NFL franchise to England. The NFL says that it has a requisite amount of British support to relocate a club into a new market that is likely to garner tons of excitement and generate loads of cash. Even though the demand is there, the NFL should definitely not move any team to London.
First of all, the travel alone would be a burden on players and fans alike. Flights from London to Atlanta are over nine hours and 30 minutes long and can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Players could become extremely jet-lagged from all of that travelling, and their exhaustion could be very dangerous, especially when they’re playing a high-contact sport like football.
Secondly, a move would seriously impact American taxpayers. The NFL currently uses taxpayer money to subsidize relocations. For example, the Oakland Raiders will move to Las Vegas in 2020, and the state government has already set aside $750 million in public money to fund the move. I’m sure taxpayers in Los Angeles, who would pick up the tab on maintenance of an abandoned stadium, won’t be very enthusiastic about paying higher taxes to fund a team’s relocation attempts. Not to mention the Brits who would pay for a newly constructed stadium.
Thirdly, England — and Europe as a whole — has a disgusting racism problem. Fans often rain racist slurs and chants down onto minority players, an issue that seems unlikely to change anytime soon. There is a high probability that minority NFL players will be the subject of racism in England, and that is a scenario that the NFL should avoid at all costs. The league already has a history of race-related issues. They shouldn’t willingly create another.
With all of this being said, allow me to be brief.
To the NFL, if you’re reading this, please think with your heart instead of your wallet before making this decision. Do you want to subject your players to onerous travel and sickening racism? Think about the well-being of your players and fans instead of the potential revenue stream.
And to the Chargers, moving to London will not lift your team out of inadequacy. Your empty trophy case is not caused by your location, but rather your inability to build a team good enough to win the Super Bowl.
A concerned fan