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Why wouldn't Dodgers be talking to NFL about a stadium?

March 23, 2013|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Magic Johnson says that there have been no discussions between the Dodgers' ownership group and the NFL about a potential football stadium at Chavez Ravine.
Magic Johnson says that there have been no discussions between the Dodgers'… (Mark Duncan / Associated…)

Sometimes people really mean what they say, sometimes it’s a flat-out lie, and sometimes it’s just very carefully worded to avoid providing a definitive answer.

The latter is normally the domain of politicians and lawyers, but big-business types love to swim in these waters too.

So Dodgers minority owner Magic Johnson was at Camelback Ranch on Friday to talk to the team and the media, and one of the things he said to the Daily News’ Vincent Bonsignore was there had been no discussions between the team’s ownership group and the NFL over a potential football stadium at Chavez Ravine.

“Have we explored that? No.” Johnson said.

Let’s pause here . . . disregarding for a moment that Daniel Kaplan at the Sports Business Journal reported weeks ago that the NFL has had direct talks with Guggenheim Baseball Group about interest in the Dodger Stadium parking lots, which was well before Philip Anschutz took AEG off the market and sent its downtown site into limbo, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell then came flat-out called Dodger Stadium a viable site.

Disregarding all that, why wouldn’t you explore an NFL stadium on your 300-plus-acre site? Wouldn’t that simply be good business? Wouldn’t they be lax as owners if they did not at least explore it?

Johnson said the first thing the NFL wants to do is resolve the downtown site, but I’m leery of that too. One constant in this ridiculous NFL dance over its return to Los Angeles has been the league's desire to keep as many potential sites in play as possible.

If anything, Anschutz's pulling AEG off the market and CEO Tim Leiweke's departing the company almost smacks of an ideal situation to return the NFL’s focus to Dodger Stadium. Guggenheim has already displayed an ability to pay a record amount for a franchise and is highly interested in live TV that is typically "DVR proof."

Of course, the parking lots are still half-owned by Frank McCourt, which is no small problem. McCourt – surprise! – hardly endeared himself to NFL owners during his brief flirtation with a football stadium and he is not exactly a beloved figure with the public or civic officials here.

Still, the site has plenty going for it and the NFL has longed for it ever since Peter O’Malley first proposed it back before there was an Internet. So Magic or any other Guggenheim official can say anything, but it simply makes too much sense for the group not to explore bringing the NFL to Chavez Ravine.

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