Everybody put on a happy face during the NFL Pro Bowl press conference Tuesday, but when this PBN reporter asked a league official about its all-star game in Hawaii and the idea of holding it in the same city as the Super Bowl or even elsewhere, things got a little testy, to say the least.
“We are aware of the comments of the governor,” Ray Anderson, the NFL executive vice president of football operations, answered.
When pushed by another reporter about what comments he was referring to, Anderson delicately sidestepped the question.
But anyone with half a brain in the room could have figured it out that Anderson was referencing an incident last June when Gov. Neil Abercrombie was at an education event and had some pretty hard words for the NFL and Pro Bowl.
“You can’t do things like give four million bucks to a $9 billion football industry and not give any money to children,” Abercrombie said, according to The Associated Press. “You’ve got this spectacle of these multimillionaires and billionaires out there arguing about how they’re going to divide it up, and then they come and ask us to bribe them with $4 million to have a scrimmage out here in paradise.”
“We’ve got to get our values straight and our priorities straight,” he said.
Abercrombie showed up to the press conference at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, but he just missed Anderson’s answer.
Abercrombie called the relationship between Hawaii and the NFL “solid” and categorized the ongoing talks to keep the Pro Bowl here as “conversations between friends.”
His spokesman, Jim Boersma, has tried to settle things down, telling PBN well ahead of the press conference that the comments were taken out of context, but that anyone with their priorities straight would agree that children are more important than football.
Good point, but football is pretty important too, but not just if you are a fan.
It’s important — the Pro Bowl to Hawaii that is — because it gives locals a chance to experience the NFL, and because it generates tax money to help pay for those programs for the children.
It also fills Aloha Stadium and brings tourists to the Aloha State.
True, forking over $4 million is hardly chump change in this economy, but when you consider how much a Super Bowl ad costs, paying that much money to advertise the state during the entirety of the only football game on the tube sounds like a good deal.
(Report Written by Mark Abramson of Pacific Business News)