Covering the Chargers as an L.A. team, and not playing the blame game

In the two weeks since the Chargers decided to move from San Diego to Los Angeles, some readers and twitter followers have hit me up
essentially insinuating that by not chiding the Chargers for their decision I am supporting what they’ve done and absolving them from any blame for the break up with San Diego.

Or that, by covering their story moving forward – as the Los Angeles Chargers – rather than looking back I’m overlooking the role they played in how things turned out.

I’m not.

Having covered this story as long as I have, I think I’ve heard all the sides by now and can comfortably say the fault rests everywhere and is not overly weighted in one direction or the other. From the city to the team to the circumstances and complexities of the state we reside, there’s more than enough blame to go around.

And at the risk of oversimplifying a very complicated and emotional break up, I’ll say this: When a couple reaches divorce court, pretty safe to assume there were mistakes made by each side in the years leading up to that conclusion.

I suspect that’s the case in this divorce as well.

I do believe both sides wanted it to work. But I don’t think either could figure out how to make that happen. California is a tough nut to crack.

And I just think Dean Spanos and the Chargers finally reached a point where they ran out of hope that a path to a solution would emerge. That, coupled with the fact they had a guaranteed 30-year stadium solution waiting for them in Los Angeles, led to their decision.

I can’t sit here and judge that decision, either. And I’ll tell you why: No one I’ve talked to, and I’ve spoken to plenty of people, has ever told me the Chargers walked away from a guaranteed solution in San Diego.

No one I’ve ever talked to has said they shunned any previous guaranteed stadium solutions, either

To my knowledge, and folks can correct me if I’m wrong, whatever stadium proposals materialized over the years always had contingencies attached to them that, for one reason or other, rendered them unlikely, untenable or indigestible to one side or another or both or to the voting public. It was never one thing or one person or one side that killed proposals, it always seemed to be a collection of things.

Even this most recent plan was contingent on various votes from the public to the county board of supervisors to the state legislature. That’s no one’s fault, those are the rules we have to operate by in California.

Would I have given it one more shot hoping those votes would have turned out favorably in two years?


But I also understand the alternative decision as well. Especially with the certainty that was waiting in Los Angeles.

All that said, they are now a part of the Los Angeles landscape which means I have to cover them. And for me, the majority of my coverage and focus will be on what happens now that they are here.

That doesn’t mean I’m taking any sides or blaming one side more than the other for them moving. I suspect the good reporters in San Diego will sort all that out in the days and months and years to come. And I suspect a final verdict will one day be rendered – if it hasn’t already.

But for me, judgement of the Chargers begins from this point on.