Will The L.A. Stadium Plans Affect The Rams Players?
During the NFL offseason, there have been extensive talks about the prospect of a possible team, or two, moving to Los Angeles in 2016, including the St Louis Rams franchise. Although this is an exciting thought for some fans, it will also be heartbreaking for others. It’s true what they say, you can’t please everyone, But what about the players? How will the LA stadium plans affect them?
The talk about the new stadium in LA usually involves the financial status of the franchise owner and the opinions of the fans and the other team owners, however, it’s important to stop and think, how does this affect the players?
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Tight end Jared Cook was recently interviewed about the talks surrounding the Rams’ relocation to LA; “It’s something you can never escape or get away from, Cook said of the Los Angeles chatter. This type of off-field distraction may become an on-field issue for the players. Moreover, Cook expressed the time and effort that a team puts into the community; “There’s so many people here we’ve been trying to help — Boys and Girls Clubs, the homeless people — that if we were uprooted and moved, the only thing you can do is establish something as well in the next city you go to and pray that your voice was heard and you changed lives while you were here” (Alex Marvez, Fox Sports, 2015).
What would the feeling be like lining up on the gridiron every week, not knowing whether the fans cheering for you now may be completely different the following year. Not knowing whether you will be visiting the same homeless shelter or school event next season. A possible answer to this question would be, sure, as long as I get paid. That’s a fair point, however, many players become attached to the community, and personally engage with the fans and citizens that live in their hometown, in this case St Louis.
“If we were uprooted and moved, the only thing you can do is establish something as well in the next city you go to and pray that your voice was heard and you changed lives while you were here.”
Earlier in the year, defensive ends Chris Long and William Hayes decided to live among the homeless community of St Louis for 24 hours, as a way of understanding the people who live on the streets in St Louis; “For every sack we get, our defensive line donates a thousand bucks to a local homeless resource facility, the St Patricks Centre, but to be honest I never personally visited the place” (Chris Long, Sports Center Featured, 2015). Players willing to engage with a community on a personal level become embedded into the local culture, as the town holds a particular significance for the player.
Without A Home: Chris Long & William Hayes Confront Homelessness In St Louis:
It is important to recognize the different ways that the players are affected by the NFL’s focus on relocating the franchise, for this has the potential to hinder the productivity and success of the St Louis Rams 2015 season. Rams fans in L.A. may be ready to welcome their team back, and fans in St. Louis may already be convinced that the Rams are on the move. This unsettling impact is an unavoidable issue presented by ownership during the process of relocation, and although it is a players duty to focus on football, this may still negatively affect the St Louis Rams’ mentality in 2015.