Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

I just got an email from San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos.

I wasn't alone in getting this email. All those who happened to be on the Chargers' mailing list got it too.

Those partial to the Chargers (guilty, Your Honor) have known for some time that the team would likely leave San Diego.

Spanos wanted the city to pay for a new stadium. That's what owners do. You don't really expect these poor, downtrodden people to pay for it themselves, do you?

The people of San Diego said thanks, but no, thanks.

So the Chargers just announced they're moving to the L.A. area and will share a stadium in an obscure place called Inglewood with the equally hapless Rams.

But back to Spanos's thoughtful, sensitive email.

He reminisced about the good times. He extolled the Chargers' fans as being the best in the world. He told them he would personally pay their travel expenses for the first season the team plays in L.A.

Oh, that's not quite right.

Instead, his email was a short, sharp See Ya!

Spanos said this decision was taken after "much deliberation." Much deliberation about money, one assumes.

"San Diego has been our home for 56 years. It will always be part of our identity, and my family and I have nothing but gratitude and appreciation for the support and passion our fans have shared with us over the years," he said.

Then, with almost (but not quite) moving honesty, he offered: "I realize the news today may cause some of you to rethink your desire to be a Chargers fan--but I hope that as we begin this exciting new era, you will find a way to keep the Chargers in your heart."

Why does this feel a little like: "Dear people of San Diego, if you stay Chargers fans or not, I really don't care. You didn't give me the money, so fare you well"?

Not even an encouragement to take a trip to see the team play. Not even a suggestion that the team would really, really like every San Diego-based Chargers fan to be there on opening day 2017 and see whether they can still feel a part of the team.

Indeed, in a (slightly) longer letter posted to Twitter, Spanos focused entirely on the team's need to now embrace L.A., which apparently is "a remarkable place."

Spanos wasn't the most popular of people within San Diego. But after this decision--and this rather brief little email--The San Diego Union-Tribune described him as a delusional villain.

I've never met or heard of a poor NFL owner. I've never met or heard of an NFL owner who deserves sympathy.

But an NFL owner is still a leader. And how you say goodbye might just matter a little in the long run.

Even if you feel you've made the right decision, even if you don't exactly feel warmly toward those you've left behind, there's little harm in at least trying to make them feel something positive.

They're customers, after all. An unhappy customer is still a customer.

Spanos chose to offer a curt wave to those in San Diego who might want to travel the 120 miles to see their team play.

He left his customers behind and intimated that now he has new customers to please.

Here's a small thought, however. No one in L.A. wants the Chargers. The Rams have played to a mediocre crowd for the past year.

How does Spanos intend to entice an L.A audience that isn't short of entertainment options?

Perhaps he'll send them a nice email.

Published on: Jan 12, 2017
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