Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
In October, ESPN’s 30 for 30 series introduced Big Shot to sports fans. A 77-minute film highlighting a dark period of time during the New York Islanders franchise. The Islanders were playing some of their worst hockey in franchise history and John Spano’s desire to not only buy the team, but come in as the knight in shining armor the Islanders fanbase had been clamoring for.
However, we all know the story from that point. John Spano was nothing more than a con artist; a sports fans disguised as a wealthy businessman. His extravagant lie briefly became a reality, only to crumble before his eyes shortly after.
Spano was sentenced to federal prison for multiple counts of wire fraud, bank fraud, and forgery. Just eight months after being released from serving his term in prison, Spano set up a leasing company in which he reverted to his old ways and scammed his “customers,” pocketing the money which was supposedly going toward leasing fees.
The expression “once a liar, always a liar” doesn’t exist for nothing.
What’s the Appeal?
What is it that fans see in Spano? After the tweet above was posted on Wednesday afternoon, it reaffirmed the belief that fans weren’t joking when saying they wish Spano was the owner of the Islanders, or, hoped he’d be a buyer soon.
"We want Spano;at this point I wish you were running things…;You should totes buy the team"
Those are real responses to Spano’s tweet. In a season where the Islanders currently sit in 27th place in the entire League, it’s understandable fans want to see change. But change in the form of John Spano? That’s where things get ridiculous.
What Spano said in his tweet isn’t necessarily wrong, but even he mentions he’s speaking as a fan. Most logical fans understand that no owner actually thinks or believes that losing is acceptable, but holding the owner accountable is a natural, and even acceptable retort coming from fans.
However, does speaking as a fan fulfill the requirements to be the general manager or owner of a National Hockey League franchise? Good intentions and well wishes don’t make for a successful hockey team, but more importantly, they don’t make for a successful business.
Fans often forget that above everything else, the NHL is a business. At the end of the day, each franchise exists to make money. Firstly, John Spano still isn’t that multi-millionaire he claimed to be. Of course, we don’t have a copy of his W-2, nor do we want one, but it’s safe to say his worth is far below Charles Wangs’ asking price of $300 million. Secondly, businesses aren’t run by known criminals. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice…well, the Islanders and the National Hockey League wouldn’t let it get to the point.
All in all, calling for John Spano to buy the team, or even wishing he ran the club is not only far-fetched, it’s downright absurd. Spano has made it clear in both Big Shot and social media that he wants the best for the team. Don’t we all? With the proper business sense and capital, any one of us would take the reins of the New York Islanders in a heartbeat. However, that’s unrealistic and calling for a known criminal to run the team is preposterous.
It’s difficult to watch a team that seems to “sit back” and “do nothing,” but fans don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. No business owner wants to lose money. And no general manager, coach or player likes to lose games.
Some fans may be unhappy with the current owner, but calling for a criminal to take over the team is hardly the solution this team needs.
It never was….and never will be.