Dorian Hargrove 12:47 p.m., May 19
As Punishment for Lukewarm Fan Support, Coach-Provocateur Norv Turner Vows to Lose Every Blacked-Out Home Game
"If you can't be bothered to show up, neither can we."
DRIVING PAST QUALCOMM STADIUM ON THE WAY TO THE BEACH - A furious Norv Turner threw what is known in artist circles as a "hissy fit" (or tempest du enfant terrible) this morning over America's Finest City's failure to sell enough tickets to avoid an NFL-mandated television blackout for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons. Dressed only in a Chargers windbreaker and a pair of powder blue bikini briefs emblazoned with a yellow lightning bolt across the front, an apparently absinthe-mad Turner declared that his team's humiliating 27-3 defeat was intentional - a punishment for San Diego's "whatever, man" attitude toward the sports franchises that so ardently desire its support. Further, Turner vowed to continue losing home games as long as the blackout remained in place.
"It's not enough for you to give us your money!" screamed Turner, knocking over the podium at a press conference called in what appeared to be a combination bathroom and performance space. "It's not enough for you to build us a new stadium! Can't you see that? Can't you see that it's not the stuff that matters? It's the love! Sure, we want the stuff, but only if it's a sign of your devotion! You can't just throw sweetheart economic deals at us and then pretend we don't exist! You can't buy us off like that! The money has to mean something! You have to be there for us!"
Turner then collapsed onto the floor, sobbing. When he looked up and found this reporter still present, he implored me to think of "the innocents in this whole disaster of a relationship - the poor, sweet players. Look what you're making me to do Philip [Rivers, the Chargers quarterback]. He passed for fewer than 200 yards Sunday; do you think that was an accident? When is the last time he passed for fewer than 200 yards? That's right, you can't remember. Lifetime completion percentage of 63% and he goes 21 for 38 with two interceptions and no touchdowns? You know that's all on my orders. As it is, he's getting fined for breaking 50%. You don't deserve a quarterback who throws for better than 50%. But good God, it's breaking his heart. He doesn't understand. He thinks the loss is his fault. But of course, it's not. It's yours."