Posted by Tyler Hustwick 1 year, 2 months ago

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In football, each player belongs to a particular department, whether it be offense, defense and/or special teams. Over the course of a game or season, a problem inevitably arises within one of these departments — the offensive line doesn’t protect the quarterback, the secondary gives up one too many big plays, etc. However, for the San Diego Chargers, their biggest problem isn’t on the field — it’s in the front office and the owners suite. 

It’s no secret that the Chargers are a complete mess, as the team continues to find new and surprising ways to embarrass itself in the eyes of the public. 

Following a botched move to Los Angeles this past winter, the Chargers have been desperately trying to save face amongst its fan base. Not surprising, given that the team is currently angling for a $1.8 billion stadium in the heart of Downtown San Diego. 

The drafting of Joey Bosa, the team’s first top-5 draft choice in over a decade, was supposed to be a step in the right direction. Instead, the Chargers haven’t been able to sign Bosa, and now, there’s a legitimate chance he could refuse to sign with the team all together and re-enter next year’s NFL Draft. 

Safe to say, fans are upset and national media hasn’t been shy about casting blame on the team for the on-going dispute. So, this week, the Chargers decided to pull their contract offer and throw Bosa, their prized draft pick and potentially future franchise player, under the bus. They did so, not with the ever-common leak-the-details approach of professional sports, but instead with a press release and an unusually puffy piece from a local sportswriter. 

“Our offer included:

  • An initial signing bonus that is larger than any player in the League has received in the last two drafts.
  • More money in this calendar year than every player in this year’s draft except one (QB Carson Wentz).
  • The largest payment and the highest percentage of signing bonus received in the first calendar year of any Chargers’ first-round selection since the inception of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (2011).”

With its public pitch, the Chargers have tried to create the perception that what they are offering sounds extraordinary — the truth is, it’s not. The team essentially offered Bosa the baseline contract for most top-10 picks; which of course is a significant amount of money. However, due to “off-set language” deliberately included by the team, what they’re offering Bosa is up-front money and no guarantees on the backend — a chief concern for someone in a sport with little, to no long-term security. And in case you’re wondering, most top-five picks get contracts without any kind of offset language.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s blame to be shared on both sides of this dispute, as neither appears willing to budge. And while there’s certainly more pressure on the Chargers given their current stadium situation and other recent PR transgressions — like running fan-favorite, Eric Weddle out of town — “going public” in this particular instance only made a bad situation, worse. Now, the Chargers enter a pivotal 2016 season on the wrong side of public opinion. 

Another shining example of why public relations are a tool, not a weapon.

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