Given the local debate about using $400 million-plus in tax revenues to build the Falcons a new open-air stadium, I couldn’t help but notice this nugget from team owner Arthur Blank’s comments about the penalties handed down to the New Orleans Saints for that team’s bounty program (via Pat Yasinskas at ESPN.com):
“I think the league has handled it well and appropriately,” Blank said. “One of the other owners made this point, but I told the commissioner I totally agree with him, the NFL, outside of our stadiums, the only things we really own are our reputation, our integrity, our shield and the relationship and trust we have with our fans and our sponsors. Anything that’s done that violates that or hurts that, is something that has to be dealt with.” (emphasis added)
Only a handful of NFL teams own their own stadiums, and Blank’s angling for taxpayers to fund a new dream home for his team certainly doesn’t put him in line to join that exclusive club.
Or maybe he meant the Georgia World Congress Authority also owns the Falcons’ reputation, integrity, and relationship and trust with the team’s fans and sponsors? (That’s a joke, folks.)
– By Kyle Wingfield