Friday, July 11, 2008

Weaver Swears Up and Down: The Jags Are Not for Sale

Every media source is starting their story with soothing reassurance.

"Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver says his team isn't leaving Jacksonville. Weaver reiterated those remarks in a statement, and then in an interview on Thursday, a day after reports surfaced that he was in negotiations with billionaire C. Dean Metropoulos to sell the club."

Don't worry! Everything's going to be okay!

Except . . .

Here's his next quote:

"I'm not selling the Jaguars," Weaver said. "The team is not moving to LA. I don't know how I can say it any more clearly than that. At some point, maybe I will sell the team. But not now." (emphasis mine)

Isn't that tantamount to covering your ass, just in case you change your mind? Why else would you feel the need to include that comment in your official statement that's supposed to make us feel better?

I love the Jaguars. I was living in Jacksonville when we got the Jags, and it was exciting. Even if we did rename the Gator Bowl to a suck-ass corporate name. I worked off and on for "The Billiard Factory and Dinette Gallery", and several players came in for pool tables and game room furniture. (You can buy your very own touch-screen game console! For $2,000.) They were almost always terribly nice.

Yes, they enjoyed flashing their wealth a bit, but I think it's a well-known fact that more than a few professional football players came from, ahem, modest upbringings. If I was raised by my grandma who was working three jobs to support me and my two brothers, I'd be buying up houses all over the place for her as well.

Without the Jags, Jacksonville wouldn't have gotten the Super Bowl (which was a blast, even for those of us who didn't get anywhere near the game), and without the Super Bowl, downtown Jacksonville wouldn't have gotten the fabulous facelift it has.

Many of our players have given money and time to some of Jacksonville's neediest people. Former beloved quarterback Mark Brunell is practically a saint.
Yes, it also earned us the public scorn of Tony Kornheiser in his infamous "What Stinks? Jacksonville" article.

Excerpt: "Have you ever been to Tampa? It's heaven, if you like Waffle Houses. Jacksonville makes Tampa look like Paris!"

(Re-reading that article, it took much effort to not murmur "F*ck you, Tony" out loud in my cubicle. Seriously, three years later and it still pisses me off. But he did eventually apologize. "I want to offer an unconditional apology to all the people of Jacksonville.")

What was I talking about? Oh yeah.

I am a little worried about losing the Jags. They've been great for Jacksonville, and I think it would hurt the city to lose them. Weaver's comment didn't console me at all.

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