[Note From The “Author”: pursuant to a number of comments across multiple posts, CrimeBeat! will officially be a politics-free zone until things calm the fuck down. I trust that you are all (mostly) intelligent adults who understand the responsibility to keep yourselves informed and participate in the political process. I have come to believe that intelligent people need somewhere where they can come for some relatively mindless relief from the psychological pressure of Paying Attention to Important Things. As you might have guessed, Hunter S. Thompson is a favorite writer of mine, and I think he provides a good example here- he could Hate with the power of a thousand dying suns both Bush the Younger and Jim Irsay. I think he used football as a way to escape politics, politics to escape football, and Wild Turkey to escape both. Although Dr. Thompson usually opened fire on any likely target who wandered into his mindspace while writing, I’m not sure I can pull off the trick with the same grace, so I’ll keep the two separate.]
Welcome to the First Reform Congregation of Bleergh (AC/DC Convocation). I’m your host and Master of Sacrifices, Reverend Mayhem. Today’s passage comes from the Revelation of St. Marv the Levyite, Chapter 7 Verses 2 through R.
2: And lo, did the Spanos lift up the charged ones into the air, declaring “Fuck you, San Diego! If you really cared about this team, you’d let us fuck you and coming generations in the ass without lube!”
III. And the franchise was set down amongst The Angels, in the cradle prepared by the Hairpiece. And the Beast did protest, saying “Where will owners threaten to relocate now?” Thence the clown did poketh his head from between the Beast’s asscheeks, saying “How about Wichita, Commissioner?”
ξ. I lifted up my head, and I saw, like, these bright purple lawn chairs singing showtunes, and I thought “Jim Irsay really does have the best shit”.
iii. And a great Voice rang out across the heavens, saying “YA BETTA ASK SOMEBODDDAAAAAAAAYYYYY!”
9. And somebodddddaaaay was asked.
R. And it was Good.
Please join us again next week, when the reading will be from Andy Reid’s Song of the Nibbleslung.
Alright, enough of this twee shit. BRING FORTH THE ACCUSED!
CHARGE: Oswalding Without A License
The name “Dennis Harrison” may not mean anything to you.
His photo may not give you any more of a clue, save for “Kyle Orton has revoked your neckbeard privileges”
But if I say “Patriots fan who allegedly pulled the fire alarm in the Steeler’s hotel at 3 a.m. the night before (morning of?) their conference championship game against said Pats,” well then you certainly know who I am talking about, don’t you?
Here’s the Thing though- I don’t think it was him. I think he’s a dupe. A patsy. Like Lee Harvey Oswald, offered up as a sacrifice to keep everyone from digging for the Real Truth.
When apprehended at the site of his crime, Harrison allegedly told Massachusetts State Police “I’m drunk. I’m stupid. I’m a Pats fan” in perhaps the most unnecessarily redundant statement ever uttered by an arrestee. Allegedly, the resident of East Boston (isn’t east of Boston just a shitton of water?) was attending a “housewarming party” in Revere when his ‘friends’ dared him to pull the fire alarm in the Steelers’ hotel. One of them supposedly drove Harrison to the Boston Hilton Logan Airport and sent him into the main lobby of the hotel. Harrison allegedly wandered to the second floor and pulled the fire alarm at or about 3 a.m. He then went back downstairs and out the front door, where he thought his ‘friend’ was waiting to make the getaway. The Masshole (in perhaps the most credible part of the story) appears to have turned on Harrison and fled at the first sign of trouble. Harrison stumbled along trying to get away and told police he was waiting for an Uber. He then uttered his statement and copped to pulling the fire alarm. He pled not guilty to disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace and setting off a false fire alarm, and was released without bond on his own recognizance. Because he just looks like the sort of stand-up guy with deep community ties who would never skip a court date…
But listen- this story? It doesn’t add up. Isn’t it a little convenient that this housewarming party was about five minutes from the hotel, in a city where it takes 20 minutes to go anywhere by car thanks to its unique array of one-way streets running in random directions and the cultural design language of New England embodied in the classic phrase “yah canhn’t get theyah from heyah”? How did Harrison or his friends happen to know that the Steelers where staying at that hotel? After all, it’s unusual for visiting teams to come anywhere closer than Providence prior to gameday, from a (fully justified) fear that Patriot’s Intelligence Secretariat has every hotel from Woburn to Framingham to Quinzee wired for sound and SigInt. Why was Drinky Smurf bothering to go to the second floor before pulling the alarm, unless the driver wanted to make sure there was time for him to get clear and strand the patsy for the police? And for that matter, how the shit did he make it up to the second floor on his own? I looked at the 3D tour of the hotel:
I am sitting here, stone-sober(ish) and I can’t fucking find the way up to the second floor. If this guy was that drunk, he must have had help getting there.
I’m not saying “3 a.m. Was An Inside Job”. And I’m not saying Darth Hoodie sent one or more of his operatives to this “housewarming” to get this schmuck so drunk that he had no idea what was going on, then take him to the hotel, let some friendly staff member guide him upstairs and then dump him for the cops to find.
And I’m certainly not saying that this whole “fake fire alarm” was just a distraction so that the rest of the operatives could get into Boss Todd’s room and replace his normal tin of Skol with a can laced with extract from the powerfully hallucinogenic Bongo-Pongo Mushroom or surgically implant a small explosive in Le’Veon Bell’s groin.
Not saying that Harrison was set up to take the fall so that the cops and NFL Security would have easy answers and not feel compelled to look too deeply into the other strange goings-on that night.
Not saying that at all.
But it makes you think, doesn’t it?
CHARGE: Bill it to my room.
Whelp, apparently Relocation Fever has broken out amongst NFL owners, and like most diseases we thought were effectively eradicated through common sense preventative public health programs, it has struck California the hardest. Hot on the heels of Dean Spanos defying the other owners by …um…exercising the option they offered him, demented manchild Mark Davis has allegedly filed a formal application with the league for the Raiders to relocate to Las Vegas.
The vague detail of what might charitably be called a “plan” appears to involve the NFL chipping in $200 million, the Raiders themselves paying $300 million, the tourists of Las Vegas paying $750 million in room taxes, and either Sheldon Adelson or Goldman Sachs paying $650 million for…well, we don’t know. Tote that up and you get a $1.9 billion monument to greed and human suffering in the middle of the fucking desert. So it should fit right in for Vegas. For comparison’s sake, The House That Gloryholes Built cost a mere $1.45 billion in current dollars. Here are the actual or projected costs of the recent and current stadium projects, using whatever voodoo math gets used on these things:
- City Of Champions Stadium (“The CoC” or “The Hairpiece), Inglewood, California: $2.66 billion, although my source is unclear as to whether this includes the mixed retail/hotel/entertainment/office/karaoke bar development everyone talks about for the site.
- MetLife Stadium (“The Shithole”): $1.6 billion
- Mercedes Benz Stadium (“The Sphincter” or “Not the Mercedes Benz Superdome”), Atlanta, Georgia: $1.5 billion
- Levi’s Stadium (“Where The Fuck Is Santa Clara?”): $1.3 billion
- US Bank Stadium (“BirdMurderDome” or “Soylent HQ”) Minneapolis, Minnesota: $1.129 billion
The wildcards (ha!) here are Adelson and the other NFL owners. Adelson owns the Venetian casino (which was, admittedly, lovely for dinner at DFOCon 2k16) and the Sands Expo and Convention Center.
Adelson also owns Trump, or at least more of him than anyone not named Putin, as Adelson was the largest individual contributor to the Trump campaign at a publicly-disclosed $125 million. Yes, yes, no politics, I know. Bite me.
The first sticking point appeared to be that Adelson wanted an ownership stake in the Raiders. This would be somewhat understandable, as he was offering more money than the United Nations’ listed GDP of 13 countries. However, the NFL (in a rare positive ownership rule) does not allow anyone who is involved in a gambling enterprise to own even part of a team. So Adelson is left with a couple of options: be content with an ownership interest in the stadium itself (unfuckinglikely), drop either the interest in the team or the interest in the casinos into a trust (if it’s good enough for Trump’s “ethics” advisors, it should pass muster from 30 billionaires and whatever the Packers are) or pick up his ball and go home. The interesting development was Goldman Sachs stepping up essentially as guarantor for the $650 million. One wonders what GS would be getting for this assurance, and whether the fuckers who helped plunge us into the Recession and then borrowed more than $10 billion from the US Government to keep the system from collapsing entirely are any less involved in a “gambling enterprise” than Adelson.
The second hurtle is the other owners, who have to approve the move by at least a 24-7 vote at the Spring Meeting at the end of March. Some articles are treating this as a foregone conclusion, given 1. their willingness to approve the Rams and Chargers moves, 2. their willingness to let the Raiders move to LA if the Chargers had decided not to, and 3. the perceived need for the owners to get a “win” on a proposal for a publicly-funded brand new stadium, in light of the revolts in San Diego, Oakland and (to an extent) St. Louis against such projects.
Others note that even the most selfish and tone-deaf of owners realize that moving ten percent of the league’s teams in two years is a bad look, and that they have to save at least a little moral capital if they have even the slightest aspirations to go international within the next 15 years. Comparing football to ice football is always suspect, but I remember how off-putting it was during the relocation/expansion boom of 1993-1999 to hear that your team’s next few home games were against the Thrashers, the Coyotes, the Predators, the Hurricane, the Lightning, the Wild and (sigh) the Mighty Ducks. The Mighty Fucking Ducks of Anaheim. Jesus Vishnu on a Triscuit, what the fuck was that about? The amount of coke consumed by both league brass and Disney execs to decide that was a good idea…the mind boggles.
Further, given how pissed off most of the owners are alleged to be that Spanos pulled the trigger on the LA Chargers, some owners might actually start thinking about throwing Davis and company to the wolves. Mark Davis is…not a respected owner.
The Raiders have a large, diffuse fan base and (despite themselves) a reasonable amount of cachet as a “brand”. Raiders fans are not going to base their decision on whether to go to a game on whether the stadium is brand-spanking new; shit, a clean and modern stadium is probably an affront to the Collective Raider Fan Ethos, like if they tried to build a dome stadium in Buffalo or Green Bay. You also have to think they’re in a position to take a larger swath of the Bay Area fanbase from the 49ers over the next 15 years, since they actually play in reasonable proximity to the Bay instead of 40 goddamned miles away. Finally, Mark Davis is not his father- the other owners don’t have to worry that Mark and his co-owner Mommy are going to litigate them into oblivion like the Old Man would have (and did!) if they try to block a move.
But the biggest reason for denying the move is the same reason for approving it- that there is a semilegitimate plan on the table to construct and finance a stadium. It preserves a credible threat for the remaining teams to use in negotiations with their own municipalities for new or upgraded stadia- “Listen, if you don’t want to play ball with us, Vegas is ready, willing and able…” This goes double because the public financing structure in the proposed deal is (allegedly) based solely on increasing hotel taxes, which largely eliminates the problem of a city being unwilling to spend huge amounts of voter money for likely mythical economic benefits. If the Raiders do move, then what? San Diego, Oakland and St. Louis have already indicated to varying degrees that they are willing to let a team walk if a reasonable (if such a word can be used when $1 billion has become the minimum price of entry) deal isn’t struck. Most of the other ‘legitimate’ contenders (Orlando, San Antonio, Portland, Columbus) are either too close to existing markets or too likely to fight on financing. Who, besides Peter King, is going to be phased by the prospect of the Wichita Buccaneers?
The other owners didn’t want it this way. They assumed that San Diego would knuckle under to the threat that the Chargers’ move was already approved, meaning that the league would be left with two outcomes of near-equal desirability: 1. Oakland knuckles under and gives Mark Davis a shiny new toy, preserving the threat of a second LA team indefinitely, or 2. the Raiders go back to LA and pick up the significant fan base they had before moving. They banked on this outcome, panicked when the San Diego situation went to shit, and now have to decide whether to sell out Mark Davis or sacrifice future leverage for 30 other teams.
Regardless, my favorite part of the “plan” for the Raiders is that there apparently isn’t even a bandbox soccer stadium for them to play in while the GamblerDome is being built, meaning they will have to spend at least two more seasons in Oakland even if the move is approved. I can’t imagine anything biblically catastrophic happening in a stadium filled with moderate to severe psychotics (sorry RTD) when you tell them you’re leaving town because they don’t appreciate them enough….
ADAM “PACMAN” JONES
CHARGE: Threatening a police officer. Well, actually they didn’t charge him with that, which seems odd.
Finally, we have further developments on the Pacman Jones ruckus-causing on Wild Card Weekend at a Cincinnati hotel. The fine, upstanding human beings at TMZ Sports have allegedly obtained a video from inside the cop car as he was being transported to the station house (or whatever they have in Cincy) after freaking out a security guard but before spitting on a nurse. Mostly it’s just a drunk and angry dude in the back of a cruiser abusing the (apparently black) cop who had the temerity to arrest him. While the classic “Do You Know Who I Am?” fails to make an appearance, there is race-traitor allegations (using a word that I am not allowed to use, as a white dude who does not have Ritchie Incognito “Honorary Black Person” Status), as well as “I hope you die tomorrow” “You’re a dead man” and “You’re going to be out of a job tomorrow”. My personal favorite is an oldie-but-goodie role player by the name of “You didn’t even ask my side of the story”.
In the finest tradition of my lawyerly brethren and sistren, his attorney managed to publicly utter the phrase “Mr. Jones has the utmost respect for law-enforcement and the difficulties police encounter on a daily basis” with a straight face and without spontaneously combusting his trousers.
HUNTER S. THOMPSON QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Football fans share a universal language that cuts across many cultures and many personality types. A serious football fan is never alone. We are legion, and Football is often the only thing we have in common. We recognize each other instantly, even if we have to speak in sign language. No doubt it has something to do with the gambling instinct, which is also universal.” -HST, the week before the Rams-Patriots Super Bowl.