"Time for us to unite and force Ford to sell the team. Spread the word. I'm done standing by and watching and waiting."
--@derekgrube a.k.a @drgrube / @GroovyGrube / @KeepFrdFldEmpty
This is a very slow, painful, difficult lesson for fans to learn. All the hours, all the days, all the years you’ve spent rooting for your team? All the tickets, food, and drinks? All the hats, shirts, and jerseys? All the ups and downs and cheering and crying and yelling and sulking and swearing and shouting? All the time, money, and emotion you have sunk into your favorite team? It’s bought you exactly zero equity in the franchise.
You and I own absolutely nothing of the Detroit Lions Football Club. It is a privately-owned—very privately owned—business, and it belongs to the owner. Not you. Not me. The owner. No matter what numbers Lions fans gather in, no matter what stupid “protests” we stage, the Lions are William Clay Ford’s and he will not sell them. By all accounts, his son is as much of a Lions fan as we all are—so if you’re waiting for the team to pass first into Junior’s hands and then someone else’s, you’re out of luck.
Let me ask you this, “Make Ford Sell the Lions” people: and then what?
First, they’ll have to find an owner to sell it to—and if that owner’s last name is not Illitch or DeVos (or maybe Karmanos or Penske), be prepared for the team to leave town for good. Presuming, though, there’s a Motor City-friendly ownership group ready to buy, then what? They’ll have deeper pockets, or a freer hand in signing checks? Ford is already tops in that department. They’ll bring in a GM who’ll do more to fix the roster than Martin Mayhew has, faster? No way; what GM could? They’ll give total operational control—and a Brinks truck full of money—to a big-name out-of-work coach? As I type this, the Redskins are proving that’s far from a surefire play. They’ll rebuild the roster again, in some other leadership staff’s image? Impossible, given the contracts involved. If you think the owner is currently what’s wrong with the franchise, let me ask you: what would a different owner do differently, and how would that fix what went wrong on Sunday? If you’re honest, you’ll say that you don’t know, and you don’t care—you just want heads to roll.
Look, I know you’re furious. I know you’re crushed. I know how bitterly it stings that after all this, the results are are still more theoretical than tangible. But going postal because the Lions mailed it in against an 0-8 team and got stamped “insufficient postage?” It’d be illogical, irrational, and—reality check—ineffective. Shouting from the rooftops that you are “sick of losing,” even though you aren’t even playing in the games? Save your breath. Taking it to the streets to show the world that you are going to “DO something about it?” Unless you have some run-blocking talents you can take to the field, you won’t be DOing any good. Call me a coward, call me a traitor, call me a scab, call me part of the problem . . . but I’m sipping cider by the little blue fire with my friends, while you’re carpet-bombing the Internet trying to convince your fellow fans to turn their backs on the team.
Don’t worry though, man, it’s cool. When your incandescent rage has dimmed, your torch has gone out, and your pitchfork is beginning to rust, you’ll see the big blue fire flicking just over the tree line. You’ll watch the silver smoke rise high into the ash-gray sky, and realize your fingers are numb with cold, and your joints creak and ache. Your lips will be chapped and cracked from the wind; involuntarily you’ll lick them and they’ll sting with pain. You’ll almost hear the jokes and laughter, and you’ll swear the steam from the cider is already healing your parched and frozen throat. Suddenly, you’ll realize that you’re walking towards us, and have been for a while. By the time you get close enough to make eye contact with me, you’ll look down in shame—and realize you dropped your weapons somewhere in the woods. No matter. It’s then that I’ll take you by the hand, and show you I saved you a place by the fire.