Several San Diego Chargers fans reacted angrily over team owner Dean Spanos’ decision to move the organization to Los Angeles by burning past and present players’ jerseys. Former Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman joined The Jim Rome Show on Friday and was asked if he’d take exception to someone burning a Chargers gamer of his given the circumstances of the decision.
“You know what, it would get under my skin, and not just my jersey, my other teammates’. Because this move and what happened is way above our heads,” Merriman said. “Obviously everybody wants the team to be in San Diego and wanted the best outcome, so for the fans that are getting kind of pissed off or upset about what’s happening, they have to understand that this is over the players’ heads.”
Merriman pointed out current players also have no call on whether they want to move to Los Angeles or not: “You go with the program, if the team is moving you go there. You don’t make a loud voice about it or you don’t make a lot of confrontation, you just go and do what your job is and play football. So there’s no need for the fans and the people in San Diego to kind of be upset at the players, because you are just doing what the organization has you doing.”
However, Merriman understands the pain the San Diego community is feeling over a team they’ve had in their city for 56 years.
“I think the fans felt a little bit neglected that maybe the organization turned their back on them or they didn’t want to stay there,” Merriman said. “And it was a very exhausting situation. This had been going on for a very long time, and they just couldn’t figure it out. It started about sixteen, seventeen years ago, and I think the fans were just very exhausted about the back and forth and just wanted a definite answer, and I think they got it the other day.”
Although, that answer even caught Merriman, who is a member of the Chargers 50th Anniversary team, by surprise.
“It was shocking, even for me, who had been a part of the process and always felt they had an opportunity to stay there in San Diego,” Merriman said. “It was almost like a dark cloud over the city. So it was heartbreaking. We knew it was coming at some point, it was a big possibility, but you don’t know it was going to happen, how it happened and it really was heart breaking for the fans.”
Merriman didn’t point fingers at one particular side of whom to blame for the team, but said it’s clear who loses the most, the fans.
“There’s no doubt about it that Dean Spanos wanted the team to stay there, but there was a lot of bluffing. There was a lot of poker faces and ultimately, the fans and the city end up suffering from it,” Merriman said. “I think they ran out of time and Dean Spanos had to make a decision and they did, and it wasn’t in the best interest of San Diego. When time goes on, the San Diego Chargers fans and the community will see how much this really effected them by the team leaving and ultimately the team could have been there. They had more than enough options, more than enough reasons to stay, and they could and they didn’t make that happen, and just bad for the city bad for the community that it didn’t happen.”