On Thursday, Bob McNair, the owner of the Houston Texans, and one of the members of the NFL’s Committee on Los Angeles Opportunities, canceled a scheduled meeting with San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer after McNair issued statements on Monday that insulted local government in San Diego.
Speaking to the Houston Chronicle on Monday, McNair referenced an affair in which former city officials were indicted on wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud charges because they allegedly were bribed by associates of a strip club owner. McNair stated: “In San Diego, they’ve been trying for about 15 years. They’ve had all kinds of political problems there. At one time, half the council went to jail or something. It’s been pretty bad. It’s hard to negotiate when you’ve got to go to the jail to negotiate. So they haven’t accomplished anything.”
San Diego mayoral spokesman Craig Gustafson responded:
It appears Mr. McNair has been provided grossly inaccurate and outdated information about San Diego. The city has completely new leadership in the mayor’s office, city attorney’s office and City Council, and has worked for nearly a decade to get our city back on track. Mr. McNair canceled a meeting with the mayor scheduled for Thursday, so the mayor’s office has directly informed NFL management that his comments are not factually accurate.
McNair’s comments about the city officials may have seemed the ostensible reason for the meeting’s cancellation, but San Diego city officials may have had more serious issues with McNair, as he has championed the Chargers and Oakland Raiders moving to Los Angeles while keeping the St. Louis Rams in St. Louis. He told the Chronicle, “St. Louis, they have come up with a proposal that is getting pretty close, in my opinion, to being an attractive proposal. And if they do come up with an attractive proposal, then in my view, my personal opinion, I don’t think the Rams will receive the approval to relocate. So that would mean then you’d have two teams, San Diego and Oakland, that would be going into Carson, (Calif.). They have a partnership to build a stadium.”
Noting the January 12-13 meeting of the NFL to discuss which teams should move to Los Angeles, McNair opined:
We have three teams that are interested in moving to Los Angeles. Only two are going to be approved if any are approved. One of the teams would not be able to move if we approve two. So they’d have to stay in their home market. And one of our concerns is what level of support are they receiving in their home market. And if they’re receiving a reasonable amount of support, my personal feeling and most owners’ is we don’t think people should move.
In early December, the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority in St. Louis won a significant victory in court in their effort to keep the Rams in St. Louis, removing an obstruction to the public funding that would be required to build a new stadium for the Rams.
McNair is clearly leaning toward the Raiders and Chargers moving to Los Angeles. He said of the two teams, “Oakland is basically saying, ‘We don’t have any money. We’re going to take care of the baseball team and we’re not going to do anything for the football team.’ So that’s where they are. And those are the two worst stadiums in the league.” He buttressed his argument by claiming, “Bob Iger, who is the CEO of Disney, has agreed to be their non-executive chairman to shepherd that whole event and introducing those teams back to the L.A. market, the branding and what have you. And I think he’d probably do a pretty spectacular job.”