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SBD/March 31, 2014/FranchisesPrint All
The time that "elapsed Friday between the posting of NJ.com's story attempting to connect" WR DeSean Jackson "with the Crips and the Eagles' 25-word announcement releasing" their player was about 40 minutes, according to Les Bowen of the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS. But there is "no way" Owner Jeffrey Lurie, GM Howie Roseman and coach Chip Kelly "conferred, made such a momentous decision, and crafted the announcement" in that timeframe. It is "pretty clear that the Eagles' brass, unable to find a trade partner at the NFL meetings in Orlando, Fla., decided that this pending story about gangs was most fortuitous." They would "hold off releasing Jackson until the story broke." Then, with "gang innuendo providing cover, they would make their move, to dramatically reduced outrage" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 3/31). In Newark, A.J. Perez wrote the Eagles' release of Jackson was "a stunning move that reflects a growing sensitivity" in the NFL to the behavior and backgrounds of players (NJ.com, 3/29). SNY's Chris Carlin said it was a "little bit curious that the story on NJ.com" about Jackson's having gang affiliations and the Eagles releasing him "happened virtually simultaneously. So I don’t know if that's just part of the Eagles getting that out there to soften the blow of getting rid of one of their best offensive playmakers" ("Loud Mouths," SNY, 3/28).
WE MUST PROTECT THIS HOUSE: ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert wrote two "competing thoughts emerged" in the moments after the Eagles released Jackson. Is this "the new NFL, one so chastened by last summer's situation" with former Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez that its teams "can't stomach the mere perception that trouble could be brewing?" Or is Jackson "simply a bad character, an outlier even in an industry that takes plenty of character-based risks when the potential reward could be so substantial?" Seifert: "We are unlikely to receive a full accounting of the Eagles' motives, but make no mistake: Their decision Friday was extraordinary in the context of player valuation and projection." The big question is "whether Jackson would still be with the Eagles if Hernandez had not been arrested last summer." Within the NFL, the "most unnerving part of the Hernandez arrest was that the alleged activity took place under the nose of the Patriots' presumably watchful eye." Seifert: "You can bet the other 31 teams took notice and redoubled their efforts to know and understand what their players were up to when away from the practice facility" (ESPN.com, 3/28). ESPN's Andrew Brandt, who previously served in the Packers' front office, said, “A few years ago I remember being in a meeting where gang issues were discussed. The symbols, the imagery, the language, even a phone call we listened in on. An FBI agent presented to these owners meetings, ‘Watch out for these things. Make sure if you see these symbols let us know,’ all kinds of security issues. This is not a new issue” (“OTL,” ESPN, 3/28).
Saints and Pelicans Owner Tom Benson, his family and key team execs in recent years "have prepared a succession plan to secure the futures of both franchises beyond his tenure," according to Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE. Saints and Pelicans VP/Communications Greg Bensel said that Benson's daughter Renee Benson and her two children, Rita Benson LeBlanc and Ryan LeBlanc, "would assume ownership of the franchises." It is "unclear if the Benson family members will equally split ownership or if they will retain majority ownership of the franchises." Rita Benson LeBlanc, who serves as co-Owner & Vice Chair for both franchises, "has worked for the Saints in various capacities for years." She also "will represent the Saints and Pelicans at their respective league meetings." It is "unknown what role, if any, Benson's wife, Gayle, will have with the club." Gayle Benson "has become more influential in recent years, playing key roles in the rebranding of the Pelicans and in the Superdome's naming rights deal with Mercedes-Benz." She is not a member of either team's BOD. Saints and Pelicans President Dennis Lauscha and Exec VP Mickey Loomis "currently preside over meetings of the clubs' executive management team, and they'll continue to be the main decision-makers for both franchises going forward." Bensel: "The plan is structured for a smooth transition of ownership rights with the ultimate goal of little, if any, impact on the operations of the teams. As both franchises are locked into long-term leases with the state (of Louisiana) there is absolutely no desire, threat or discussion related to the relocation of the teams" (NOLA.com, 3/29).