Jersey Politician Wants Teams to Show Some Garden State Pride

State legislator wants to stop public money for teams without New Jersey in name

By Josh Alper
|  Tuesday, Aug 11, 2009  |  Updated 12:36 PM EDT
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At least Jersey's got someone on their side.

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The Jets will kick off their 26th season as New Jersey residents in September, which is both longer than they spent on the other side of the river and an awfully long time to live somewhere while still claiming status as a New York team. The Giants have longer roots in the Big Apple, but they're also long time Garden Staters who refuse to give up the ghost of their past lives. And now the Nets, who haven't played in New York since Dr. J still had an afro have dropped New Jersey from their road uniforms as they try to stay on track for a move to Brooklyn.

It's all too much for New Jersey Senate Minority Whip Kevin O'Toole to take. He wants to cut off the spout of public funding for all three teams unless they embrace their inner Springsteen and fall in love with their surroundings.

"New Jersey's professional sports teams, the Nets, Jets and Giants, have no problem feeding at the taxpayer funded trough, yet seem to forget who their benefactors are when they order the teams' uniforms," O'Toole said. "The taxpayers of this state have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into infrastructure upgrades in the Meadowlands where all the teams play their home games. Is it too much to ask that professional sports teams that benefit from the support of the New Jersey taxpayer recognize the state on their uniforms?"

"These teams make hundreds of millions of dollars a year," O'Toole added. "They should not receive a single concession from the state until they get an attitude readjustment."
 

And you better believe that O'Toole knows a guy or two who'll readjust that attitude for you. Nothing like a guy moaning about people not taking pride in his state by playing into the general stereotype of someone from that state.

Is it too much to ask that a state which benefits from the professional sports teams in the areas of parking fees at the Meadowlands, taxes on tickets and tolls from people coming to watch the games not care that much about what the teams are called? 

Perhaps in a more just world the Giants and Jets would have switched from New York to New Jersey, but it's awfully disingenuous to make it seem like the relationship between the teams and the state is a one-way street. There's a lot of benefit to having the teams playing there, even if they were called the South Fredonia Nutcrackers, so you take the good along with the bad.

And, since we're on the topic, someone should ask O'Toole why public funds should be used for teams at all. As he says, they make hundreds of millions of dollars a year, so why should there be any difference whether their name has Newark, Atlantic City or anything else?  

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