"NUVO asked no hard questions
After reading the cover story on Colts’ owner Jim Irsay (“Being Jim Irsay,” Oct. 11-18), I thought I had accidentally picked up The Indianapolis Star instead of “Indy’s free thinking entertainment source.” I’ve often found Mr. Hoppe’s columns offer refreshing and thoughtful insights on various topics, but the Jim Irsay piece was pure public relations and nothing remotely resembling journalism. I did not find one challenging question posed to Mr. Irsay or any insight as to why a 22-year-old stadium is not adequate or, more importantly, why anyone other than his business should pay the price to build it.
I travel frequently across the United States (as I am sure Mr. Hoppe does) and have yet to meet a single person that expressed anything remotely close to the sentiment that he or she would like to relocate to Indianapolis because we have an NFL franchise. Much the same as I have yet to meet a person in the Indianapolis metro region that expressed an interest to relocate to Detroit (fill in the city) because that particular metro region/city has an NFL franchise.
Yet, when Mr. Irsay threatened to take his toy and go play in the next neighborhood if a new sandbox was not built, we watched most of our elected leaders give in to his every wish. Such public relations campaigns even included a visit by Peyton Manning to the floor of the Indiana Legislature where he tossed footballs to our elected state representatives. I find it especially ironic the week of the NUVO story Mr. Irsay confirmed neither he nor the Colts will be picking up any of the tab for the additional $10 million required EACH season to operate the new stadium. Such funds are above and beyond all current budgets for the new stadium project. It’s fairly simple math — five years of the new stadium requires an additional $50 million of taxpayers’ funds exclusively for the operation of the new facility.
Mr. Irsay’s handling of the new stadium project has amounted to nothing less than a sanctioned case of wealth distribution from the middle class to the ultra wealthy — himself. If the arbitrary “market value” of NFL athletes has now reached a point of kickers earning in excess of a seven figure salary, why can’t the “free thinking” media expose the absurdity of this excess and show how public funds could be put to a much better use than the building of a new palace (oops, I meant stadium) with taxpayer funds — an act that is nothing less than the public subsidy of a multimillionaire’s private business venture.