1. Sports

Glazers need to speak up about Bucs mess

Published Oct. 15, 2013

The team loses week after week, and we hear the same cliches from the head coach.

A serious MRSA outbreak occurs and reoccurs and we hear a bunch of mumbo-jumbo from the general manager.

A report comes out that the coach might have leaked confidential medical information about a former star player and we hear from the coach. And then the general manager.

The Bucs are a sinking ship and the only people talking are couple of deckhands who might not be employed much longer.

When are we going to hear from the real people in charge? Where are the owners?

Where are the Glazers?

Give me Bryan Glazer. Give me Joel. Heck, I'll take Ed.

But give me a Glazer.

At some point — and that point is well past — one of them has to come out of the lofty tower and speak to the lowly masses about the lowly messes.

You help pay the bills. You buy the jerseys. You watch the games on television. You buy the tickets. Well, some of you buy the tickets.

You're due an explanation and somebody who signs the checks owes you that explanation.

This is their creation. They hired GM Mark Dominik. They hired coach Greg Schiano. It's their building that houses a bad football team as well as a serious staph infection.

And now they need to explain it. All of it.

The Bucs have become a soap opera. And it's not even a fun soap opera. It's a sad, pathetic, petty soap opera. And the Glazers are the producers.

They need to publicly show that they care — about the state of the football team, about the future of the head coach and GM, about the medical conditions at One Buc Place.

This isn't meant to suggest that the Glazers don't care. I'm not even saying they are bad owners.

By all accounts, they are sparing no expense when it comes to finding the source of the MRSA and eradicating it from the facility. (Then again, you would expect nothing less than that, right?)

Meantime, they have spent money trying to fix the football team, opening up their checkbooks to bring in expensive veterans such as Darrelle Revis, Vincent Jackson, Carl Nicks and Dashon Goldson.

They have assured that there will be no blackouts this season even though the stadium is clearly nowhere near being sold out unless fans of the other team come out in droves.

So they are trying to do the right things, but they are failing in one area — being publicly accountable for the problems and publicly vowing to fix them.

Spending time in the spotlight and talking to the media has never been the Glazers' style. Right now, things are wreck and they are quiet. But, even when things were going well — if you can remember back that far — the Glazers stayed out of the way. They always have believed in hiring people and letting those people do their jobs. And that is not a bad business model.

We have seen owners who can't get through a day without jumping in front of a camera and yelling into a microphone, such as the Cowboys' Jerry Jones and the Jets' Woody Johnson. No one is suggesting that the Glazers turn into Mark Cuban.

There are plenty of good owners (the Rooneys in Pittsburgh, the Maras in New York) who rarely talk and plenty of bad owners (remember the Lightning cowboys Oren Koules and Len Barrie?) who never shut up.

Number of times being quoted in newspapers has no correlation to the quality of the ownership.

But when things are as bad as they are with the Bucs, on and off the field, it's the Glazers' responsibility to say something ... anything.

If the Glazers have a flaw, this is it. They have never understood that they need to be more accessible. It's good public relations. It's good business. And, funny thing, when they do speak, they become more likeable and, more importantly, better understood.

Right now, they need to be understood or they can't complain about a half-empty stadium and apathetic fans.

Perhaps, the Glazers don't see the need to talk about the team's 0-5 record. Maybe they don't want to give the cursed "vote of confidence'' to Schiano and Dominik if they know it's meaningless. Maybe they think it's prudent to sit back and evaluate. That's their right, although it would be nice if they would explain why they are headed for two straight swings and misses on head coaches.

But there's no excuse or explanation for keeping quiet about MRSA.

When this whole MRSA situation went from bad to worse, when the careers of two players (Nicks and Lawrence Tynes) were put on hold, when the health of everyone who stepped into One Buc Place was suddenly on notice, no one wanted to hear from a general manager whose expertise (well, supposed expertise) is putting together a football team.

This is when a Glazer needed to stand at a podium in that building and explain what happened and how everything was going to be made right.

See, it isn't just one little thing over at the Bucs. If it was, maybe the Glazers would get a pass for staying mum. It's a bunch of things. Big things.

It's a lousy football team. It's a coach and general manager who aren't getting the job done. It's a serious allegation that the coach possibly leaked confidentiality information about former Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman being in the league's drug program. And it's a frightening medical emergency.

In the end, it's not just about being responsible. It's about showing you're responsible. That's what true leadership is.

Right now, the Glazers need to show that they are responsible. They need to show leadership.

They can start by taking a few questions.


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