What Makes a Bad Sports Owner

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With the NBA gearing up towards a lockout and the NFL already firmly planted in one, there has been a lot of attention recently placed on the relationship between owners and players.

Sometimes, the portrayal of this relationship paints the owners as uncaring dictators concerned only for their profit margins.

There are certainly many bad owners in sports with only money on their minds, but there are other ways for an owner to run their team into the ground.     

But, what truly makes an awful owner?

1. They think they know more about the sport than the person they hired to run the team.

Owners have the biggest checkbooks, but they rarely have the knowledge of their sport to properly run a team. 

A bad owner will think they are smarter than the experienced general manger and coach they have hired to make decisions.  They will constantly question their front office’s decisions and force their employees to build a team around their philosophy.

Al Davis, the owner of the Oakland Raiders, is the greatest example of this blunder.  The man has routinely hired and fired coaches after not agreeing with them and is known for forcing his staff to choose the fastest players in the league, regardless of their actual skill.

2. They refuse to spend money.

An owner has to spend hundreds of millions of dollars usually to purchase an American sports franchise.  Sometimes, after spending all these funds to get the team, owners become cheap and refuse to spend much more.

This leaves fans of that team in somewhat of a no man’s land, as they continue to root for the organization with little hope for success.

Although the Memphis Grizzlies did well this year, the team’s owner, Michael Heisley, has been notorious for refusing to spend in order to stay away from the league’s luxury tax.  When the Grizzlies traded away Pau Gasol to the Lakers, a trade largely panned by the media, the Grizzlies did so to save money.

3. They lack respect for the fans.

With how much fans invest into their favorite sports teams, the city an organization plays in often emotionally owns a team more than any owner.

A bad owner does not realize how much a city cares for their team and feels entitled when making decisions about the organization.  They care little for fans.

Numerous owners could fit this bill, but some who recently have had problems with their fans are the Maloof Brothers, owners of the Sacramento Kings.  The Maloofs recently attempted to move their team away from Sacramento to Anaheim, even after fans in the city showed strong support for the organization.

4. They are Donald Sterling.

For all the bad characteristics other owners have shown, no one can top Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.  The exploits of the man have become legendary.

Sterling has been called cheap, a racist and unaware of his team.  The man has heckled his star player, Baron Davis, while he was playing, has repeatedly squabbled with ex-coaches for not honoring their contracts and has watched on as his team has only had two winning seasons in the 30 years he has been owner.

If you want to be a good owner, just don’t do anything Donald Sterling does.      

Junior > Journalism > University of Maryland

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