The most likely way to prevent an NFL team from relocating to Los Angeles is to squash the new stadium proposal in Inglewood, California. Information contained in this article and the agsaf.org website does serious damage to the moral credibility of Rams owner Stan Kroenke. It will also become necessary to disclose the National Football League’s “dirty, little secret” as I demonstrate a level of either mesmerizing incompetence or professional subterfuge. Either makes Kroenke an exceedingly poor candidate to oversee a billion dollar development project.
The major news out of the NFL is the possibility of a franchise relocating to Los Angeles. Kroenke is leading the charge with a stadium development proposal for Inglewood. Several teams are rumored to be in the relocation mix: San Diego Chargers, Los Angeles Raiders and the St. Louis Rams.
Sports writers are naturally drawn to stories about player indiscretions (drunk driving, substance abuse, domestic violence, etc.), but the overarching themes usually involve money. The NFL is the most profitable sports league in the world. Future revenue streams always make for a compelling story line. And nothing is bigger, both literally and figuratively, than the construction of a brand spankin’ new stadium.
As I’ve stated, the press usually focuses on money. However, this isn’t about a $100,000+ political contribution to the campaign of Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts from the same company tasked with the stadium construction (Hollywood Land Co. based out of San Francisco). Small world, eh? This isn’t about the NFL which currently operates as a tax-exempt organization under section 501 (c-6) of the Internal Revenue Code. Conveniently labeled and organized as a not-for-profit trade/industry association despite the NFL front office hauling in record profits of nearly 10 billion this year with an admitted goal of reaching $25 billion by 2027. And this isn’t about Stan Kroenke who happens to be married to a Walmart heiress. It’s not about the second wealthiest NFL owner desperately trying to increase his leverage and fortune.
I lied. It’s about Mr. Kroenke a/k/a the 6 BILLION Dollar Man. It’s all about him.
The NFL’s most alarming problem involves divulging the truth. And not only will the truth set you free, it is free. It wouldn’t cost Kroenke a dime. But in this case, he refuses to publicly convey vital information about stadium safety. Kroenke reminds me a little of Jack “you can’t handle the truth” Nicholson. Well, not quite.
So finally, what’s the dark secret? I will tell you. It is the prospect of an “artificially generated stampede” and the potential for a dominipede (multiple, simultaneous stadium stampedes likely impacting the 1 o’clock slate). The agsaf.org website does a sufficient job of elaborating on the mechanics. Three books and 70+ articles on the subjects of outdated emergency evacuation protocol and advancements in asymmetric generational warfare (killing without weapons).
Still, I’ll summarize. Roger Goodell’s vision for every NFL stadium is maximum wireless connectivity. There’s little reason to believe the Inglewood project would deviate from this mission statement grounded in hyper-connectivity. It’s all part of the “Stadium WiFi Initiative” established back in 2012. You might recall it being hailed as the “living room” experience.
Now last time I checked, virtually everyone in the stadium has an active cell phone. With the Inglewood project, that would be 80,000+. These mobile devices are capable of disseminating false information. The overwhelming concern here is a real-time saturation of bomb threats and phony emergency evacuation orders, both unintentional and deliberate. Since the vast majority of fans have never given this matter any consideration, it leaves you with two distinct choices. You either tell people about it and substantially increase their level of situational awareness… or you let them remain completely ignorant and oblivious.
Let me ask you a straightforward question. Is it reasonable to assume that Stan Kroenke has never been briefed on the prospect of an “artificially generated stampede?” It’s simply the modern, technological version of shouting “fire” in a crowded theater. Middle school kids can carry on an insightful conversation about this stuff. Comprehending the notion of a cellular-induced panic doesn’t require a doctorate in Physics from Stanford.
Why is it that not a single person affiliated with the NFL has ever publicly spoken of this — a potential downside to all these cell phones in any of their stadiums? Why is any discussion about wireless hacking and social media hoaxes off limits? Why won’t they tell the truth about evacuation protocol? Allow me to explain. And please take note. Because in the aftermath of a national tragedy, a deliberate act of silence could be regarded as a felonious act of criminal omission.
I understand the dilemma of being proactive. It would be a voluntary admission that a specific scenario exists which could render a stadium unsafe. Hmmm, and such an admission would be in direct conflict with all that money flooding in. Once again, common sense safety issues take a back seat. We’ve previously seen this narrative unfold with the prolonged concussion lawsuit settlement and the league’s recent domestic violence troubles.
Profit has an uncanny knack for keeping people tight-lipped. Revenue has a tendency to impose its will on morality. But in this case, the solution is really simple. Just explicitly inform fans that LEGITIMATE emergency stadium evacuation orders would NEVER be delivered via their personal cell phones. If an evacuation’s absolutely necessary, they use the public address system in tandem with the video monitors. Because it’s necessary to present a clear, unified directive. This is Evac Protocol 101. You don’t send out a blitz of text alerts. This is not rocket science. Out of roughly 200 NFL and NCAA stadium incident commanders, I defy you to find just ONE who would disagree with the assessment above.
But in the end, it’s always about money. I understand that. However, this particular safety issue is hovering around a fifth grade comprehension level. And when every politician, every government agency (DHS, FCC, NSC, etc.), every sports writer in journalism and broadcasting, every billionaire NFL owner and every stadium manager adamantly refuse to acknowledge the possibility that something like this could at the very least be attempted, let alone happen. Well… call me naive, but that spells trouble. Eventually someone will test the cracks in the system.
Some will make the argument that this is a broader societal problem. Hey, this affects the sports industry across the board: NCAA, MLB, NASCAR, etc. Why doesn’t one of those organizations step up? And why aren’t you casting aspersions on the inaction of politicians and complacence of government? Shouldn’t they shoulder the blame as well? Short answer yes. Long answer no. The legal explanation doesn’t pan out because it’s a hypothetical. So all we’re left with is a moral quandary and the circular catch-22. You acknowledge a problem, you own it… and if something bad happens, you’re screwed.
So why Kroenke? Here’s your answer. Some degree of moral accountability is necessary at the highest levels of authority. Even if you’re afforded the luxury of not having to play by the rules. Even when you’re a multi-billionaire. Every rational human being still makes judgments of “right and wrong” when it comes to matters of “life and death.” If we can’t trust Kroenke with such an elementary stadium security issue, then how on earth could we possibly find him ethically competent to preside over a billion dollar stadium development project?
A lot of things are driven by profit, but freedom of speech is a hot commodity these days. Sometimes it’s necessary to speak up. If you disagree with my analysis, here’s a million dollar challenge. Forget that. Let’s call it the billion dollar challenge. Just try asking Stan Kroenke about this issue in a live, televised forum. See if you can find a reporter with the guts. Best of luck. That person won’t be a reporter for long. Hero? Yep. Reporter. Nope.
* AGSAF (Artificially Generated Stampede Awareness Foundation) is currently seeking a spokesperson, preferably a high profile athlete or celebrity/musician, who’s willing to tell Americans that “legitimate venue emergency evacuation orders do NOT come from their personal cell phones.” Regrettably, not a single member of Congress appears interested. Many know about the problem but willfully choose to steer clear. Not much of a surprise. After all, there’s no money in it.