Thought to be trailing in their hopes to receive enough votes for the downtown stadium measure to pass this November, the Chargers mounted an offensive at a city councilman who voiced opposition to the team’s plan.
The Chargers funded a Facebook ad campaign against councilman Chris Cate, who is one of the leaders of a coalition called “No Downtown Stadium – Jobs and Streets First,” David Garrick of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The ads posted Cate’s office phone number and urged fans to call and ask why he wants the Chargers to leave.
The team stated in these ads and through a spokesperson it would leave for Los Angeles without a downtown stadium — Dean Spanos does have an agreement in principle to join up with Stan Kroenke and the Rams in 2017 — but that hasn’t been formally announced since the Chargers are still playing at the Mission Valley site that’s housed them since 1961. So this ad campaign could be another attempt at leveraging the city. This time, that effort is directed at voters. The Chargers, as of now, need a two-thirds majority for the stadium measure to pass.
“The Chargers have spent the past 15 years and tens of millions of dollars trying to find a solution to stay here in San Diego,” team spokesman Fred Maas said, via Garrick. “It is an insult to our fans and all San Diegans to have inexperienced politicians with blind ambition use our initiative as a vehicle to pursue higher office, like mayor. If they want us to leave for L.A, folks have every right to ask why, so please call Chris and ask him.”
A coalition spokesman refuted Maas’ claims that Cate’s political agenda is driving this message.
Here’s more from San Diego.
- In the weeks between now and the elections, the Chargers should be able to outmaneuver their political opposition, at least in terms of getting their message out, Tom Krasovic of the Union-Tribune writes. Four local TV stations in San Diego work under parent companies that are broadcast partners of the NFL, and the team also appears ready to outspend opponents in advertising. The Bolts improving on the field would help their cause, Krasovic notes. Despite the 4-12 record they finished with in 2015, the Chargers hadn’t lost more than 10 games in a season since 2003 and in their most recent effort lost nine games by one-score margins.
- Management and Joey Bosa‘s camp breaking their weeks-long silence — and doing so without many details leaking — shows the sides are serious about finding a resolution this time, Michael Gehlken of the Union-Tribune notes. We heard on Friday the Bolts and Bosa’s agent met this week, and it’s unknown if a new offer emerged after one last went out July 28. Multiple officials involved requested the talks be kept private, per Gehlken.
- Regardless of Bosa’s status come Week 1, Darius Philon will start opposite Corey Liuget at defensive end for the Chargers, Krasovic writes. While Philon saw his rookie season cut short by injury, he’s enjoyed a productive camp, per Krasovic, who adds that plugging Bosa into the Week 1 lineup after everything that’s occurred would send a bad message.
- Kellen Clemens will remain Philip Rivers‘ backup, according to Krasovic, who also notes Zach Mettenberger is not a lock to make the team. Now 33, Clemens looks to have withstood the challenge of new OC Ken Whisenhunt‘s former Titans charge. Mettenberger, whom the Chargers claimed on waivers earlier this year, may now be in a battle with rookie UDFA Mike Bercovici, Krasovic writes. Rivers has not missed a start since taking over for Drew Brees to begin the 2006 season.
- The Chargers claimed wideout Rasheed Bailey off waivers from the Jaguars earlier this week.