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Thread: Fletcher Mackel of WDSU goes off on Shinn/Benson

  1. #1
    Irrational Optimist Contributor neworleanshoo's Avatar
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    Jan 2002

    Fletcher Mackel of WDSU goes off on Shinn/Benson

    just got this forwarded to me...

    I've now been living on an air mattress at the TV station here in New
    Orleans covering the aftermath of Katrina for 37 days. In this time I've
    seen tremendous acts of heroism and courage. Sadly, I've also seen cowards
    looting and taking advantage of innocent people trying to rebuild our
    When speaking of cowards taking advantage of the worst natural disaster
    in United States history, two names jump into my head: Saints owner Tom
    Benson and Hornets owner George Shinn.
    These men own the two most high profile businesses in our city.
    Millions of people around the world read and hear about our great city
    because of the spotlight professional sports shines on New Orleans.
    So, in our greatest time on need, where are Benson and Shinn? Are
    they waving the New Orleans flag, telling the world that our city will be
    viable once again? Are they lobbying the mayor to become members of his
    committee to rebuild New Orleans? Are they telling business leaders
    around the world that their companies should relocate to New Orleans and
    play a major role in the redeveloping of a major American city? NO!
    As I type Shinn is looking for property in the Brick Town area of
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Hornets owner is being wined and dined by
    dozens of big money Oklahoma cowboys and politicians and talking about how
    great an NBA team would fit in the sooner state. Due to damage at the New
    Orleans arena and the condition of the city following Katrina the Hornets
    will play 35 of their 41 home games in Oklahoma City. Shinn has even
    changed the name of the team. His franchise is now known as the New
    Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets.
    Benson is holed up in his San Antonio, Texas ranch. The New Orleans
    native, who's childhood neighborhood was totally flooded and destroyed by
    Katrina, was ready to pull the plug on the Crescent City 1 month ago!
    Benson has long believed that San Antonio was ripe for an NFL franchise
    and now he's getting his wish with an opportunity to explore this market
    (his team will practice and operate this season and also play 3 'home'
    games in San Antonio).
    Why are Benson and Shinn doing this? Because they're disgusting, money
    grubbing men with little dignity and pride!
    Unlike other businesses in New Orleans affected by Katrina, Benson and
    Shinn have franchises that WILL make money this year. Due to revenue
    sharing and TV contracts in their leagues both teams will be able to make
    payroll and earn millions of dollars regardless of how many tickets and
    luxury suites they sell. Therefore, they should both be making a bigger
    commitment to helping the people of this community rebuild and get back on
    their feet. Simply visiting New Orleans and shaking hands with the
    police, fire and relief workers who love and support their teams would be
    good enough. Reassuring (in person) men and women who's entertainment
    dollars have gone to these teams for years that both the Saints and
    Hornets are in this city for the long haul would be priceless.
    Shinn and Benson have both said that they'll wait to see if New Orleans
    recovers financially before deciding if they can run their business here.
    Let me tell you right now, New Orleans is at least 2 years away from
    being economically viably once again.
    The city can't make payroll because we have no tax base. The state
    says they'll face a 1 BILLION dollar deficit due to the wrath of Katrina.
    Due to this bleak financial situation in southeast Louisiana Tom
    Benson and George Shinn will NOT collect annuity payments this season
    from the city and the state.
    Both men SHOULD handle the situation with class and tell the city and
    state that they won't even ask for the money until at least 2007.
    That said, I have no confidence in either of these men to stay past
    next summer. When the city and state fail to make 1 payment to these teams
    both Shinn and Benson claim breech of contract and shop their franchises.
    Like many, I'm not a fan of numerous local and state politicians right
    now but these men and women have worked extremely hard over the years to
    keep both Benson and Shinn happy. Benson bought his team for 75 million
    dollars. Today, thanks in large part to guarantees and facility upgrades
    from city and state leaders Benson's franchise is now valued at just under
    700 million dollars. Shinn's team jumped in value from 200 to 300 million
    upon his move from Charlotte to New Orleans due to the incentive package
    city and state leaders handed him.
    They owe it these politicians to cut New Orleans a break! Do what's
    right. Despite their lack of civic integrity both men have to know that
    turning their backs on New Orleans during this time of need is wrong!
    Imagine Miami had been hit by Katrina, can anyone fathom Dolphins
    owner Wayne Hyzuinga salivating about a potential move to another city? NO
    Think if an earthquake rocked Los Angeles. Is there a person who
    believes that Lakers owner Jerry Buss would turn his back on the affected
    areas? I DON'T THINK SO!
    With his silence Tom Benson spits in the face of everyone who's ever
    bought a ticket to a Saints game. With his gratuitous flirtation with
    Oklahoma City George Shinn laughs at every New Orleanian who lost a home
    of business.
    Media guides for both the Saints and Hornets brag that each owner is a
    visionary. A leader who dragged himself up from nothing to become a
    millionaire and a leader of men. Benson was a meager car dealer, who,
    through shrewd business moves became a successful automobile tycoon.
    Shinn claims to have once worked as a janitor for a company he'd
    eventually go on to buy years later for tens of millions of dollars.
    If these men are as good at building themselves and their companies
    as they say then I beg them to take a more active role in the rebuilding
    of a major American city filled with more character, charm, history, great
    food, amazing architecture and passionate fans then both San Antonio and
    Oklahoma City combined.
    New Orleans should be looked at as a stock that's hit rock bottom.
    You can buy cheap right now and perhaps reap the benefits if our city is
    rebuilt properly (and with people like Donald Trump reaffirming his
    commitment to build and help the city return it looks like New Orleans
    could make a monumental comeback).
    So Tom Benson and George Shinn. Please stay and rebuild. Give us 3
    years, give us a reasonable amount of time to rebuild! Please show the
    world that New Orleans is worth investing in.....or leave.....and announce
    to the world that New Orleans is dead!!!!!
    The choice is your!
    Again, I have no faith in either of these men to the right thing on
    their own. BUT, with pressure from fans as well as local and national
    media maybe they'll come around.
    So forward this e-mail to as many people as you can. Send it to fans
    of these teams, media members, politicians. The more people who start
    chastising Benson and Shinn for their neglect of New Orleans...the better
    chance we have!

    Fletcher Mackel

  2. #2
    Banned Trueblood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Koreatown, California
    Excellent work by Fletcher. The only problem for Shinn is the perception that if they are in OKC for a 2nd year, the team might as well be a goner. I don't think he has 2 years.

    What needs to happen is for Baton Rouge to filter out some. Get some available hotel, office and residential space and gobble it up right away. Play in OKC this year, try to get the league to award an expansion team to OKC as a way of saying thanks and then go through with playing in PMac next year. They payroll will be low enough, as Fletcher mentions, for Shinn to profit if the Cox deal is back up. During this time, the ticket sales people need to be going full force at trying to resurrect customer confidence and as Fletcher mentions, reminding them that it's New Orleans' team.

    When it's all said and done, it's on Shinn to do the right thing and not jump on the OKC bandwagon despite better short term profits. Do the wrong thing and it will come back to haunt you in one way or another. A man of faith knows this and there's nothing that David Stern can do to stop you from running your franchise in a MORALLY responsible way, which means not abandoning your city for good.

  3. #3
    I'm all out of bubble gum Contributor Harvey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002

    I'm really proud of these two "leaders" who are taking a wait and see stance.

  4. #4
    I like Tom Benson and George Shinn. They're doing the best they can, I only wish they had a conscience.

  5. #5
    Desk jockey Contributor Defuz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Mandeville, LA
    El Diablo is the most despicable form of life on the planet. One day after Katrina and he's dancing around in Texas, happy as a clam that he might get his wish. At least Shinn has come out and stated that he wants and has every intention to come back.

    On both counts, we're going to have to wait and see.

    As for the message from Fletcher.....well said. I will try and pass it on.

  6. #6
    New Orleans' Teams Avatar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    New Orleans

    Big ups to Fletcher for taking Shinn and Benson behind the shed for the good ol' fashioned *****-whupping they needed.

    It's simple. Do they want to be here? If Benson wants to move on and try to suckle on the teat of San Antone, then say so and GO. If Shinn would rather the presence of cowboys and not cajuns and creoles, then GO.

    BUT like a girl who got her man to leave his old lady, both those cities should always keep one eye on them and another over their shoulder. For if any other city catches their eyes, they'll dump them like a deadbeat dad on "COPS."

  7. #7
    Charter Member Southpaw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Metro New Orleans
    I'm generally no Mackel fan. But I can't find a single word to disagree with in his rant.

    I am immensely disappointed that neither Benson nor Shinn has stepped up to be part of the rebuilding effort...leading as part of the committee...commiting to "doing whatever it takes" to get New Orleans on its feet. Sad...so very sad.
    A football game can't stop hurricanes.

    It can't fix levees.

    Or rebuild houses.

    But it can let a city know...

    That it's a city once again.

    Welcome back, New Orleans.

  8. #8
    Pistol Pete Would Be Proud!! irish thug 527's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    I loathe Benson. I loathe Shinn. I hate Katrina.

  9. #9
    Shinn:"when new orleans is back, we'll be back"

    Translation: "You guys do all of the work, and IF you get it all back together QUICKLY, then I will be glad to return. Until then, its "Ridem Cowboys." Good Luck."

    Benson, who really does owe the city and state alot more than Shinn, is being far worse.

  10. #10
    I'm all out of bubble gum Contributor Harvey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Quote Originally Posted by Big Fan
    Shinn:"when new orleans is back, we'll be back"

    Translation: "You guys do all of the work, and IF you get it all back together QUICKLY, then I will be glad to return. Until then, its "Ridem Cowboys." Good Luck."

    Benson, who really does owe the city and state alot more than Shinn, is being far worse.

    What great "leaders" Benson/NFL and Shinn/NBA are in the recovery process...

    I hear Donald Trump has decided to build his Trump tower in New Orleans in spite of the disaster. THATS leadership. Maybe he wants to own a sports team (or two)...

    /wishful thinking

  11. #11

  12. #12
    Going away.... Contributor West Coast Hornet's Avatar
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    Jan 2002
    Gotta love my sig.

    Time for some football!!!

  13. #13


    I have spread the word to Saints Report Sohh Colesium KFFL main forum and Real GM need yall to add these comments to other sport boards and help keep the feedback hes right.

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