Dean Spanos has been served up heaps of disdain lately by the Union-Tribune.
After decades of what many have characterized as abject supplication to the Chargers-owning Spanos family, scribes of all varieties at the Union-Tribune have taken off the gloves. Last week a sportswriter for the paper bemoaned the long-known fact that the clan “receives hundreds of millions of dollars in TV money from the NFL every year, irrespective of how the team performs on the field or at the gate,” and challenged the veracity of Dean Spanos, who is leading the team’s drive for Los Angeles. “The narrative of San Diego failing the Chargers doesn’t need to be wholly true. Just true enough for NFL billionaires and their lawyers to make it work.”
A January 5 editorial went further, proclaiming, “let the Chargers leave for logical reasons instead of lies.” The next day, the paper rolled out additional Spanos disdain from John Lynch Jr., described as a San Diegan, “former NFL star safety,” and Fox Sports color commentator. “Be a man,” Lynch was quoted as saying on a 1090 radio talk show. “Get out and say, ‘Here’s what we’re doing. We’re going to L.A. because it’s the best business opportunity’ instead of hiding behind a website.”
Lynch then threw a few punches at longtime Chargers lobbyist Mark Fabiani, saying he “has had the best job in America for the last 14 years, just doing nothing and getting nothing accomplished but getting paid a lot of money.” Not mentioned was Lynch’s close relationship to a former U-T principal, namely John Lynch Sr. During his Union-Tribune–owning partnership with real estate mogul Douglas Manchester, the voluble onetime radio wheeler-dealer and 1090 proprietor famously vowed to use the newspaper to promote a hefty taxpayer subsidy for a new Chargers stadium. “To my way of thinking,” the senior Lynch said in November 2011, “that’s a shovel-ready job for thousands.”
The next June, the Union-Tribune fired sports reporter Tim Sullivan, who sent a statement to sports-media blog The Sherman Report, saying in part, “Though I can’t read Lynch’s mind, I am inclined to believe that my firing was the result of multiple factors,” including “my failure to endorse a new stadium without wondering whether that’s good public policy, a justifiable expense or a good deal.”