Field of Schemes
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August 11, 2009

What do we get for our money?

The New Jersey Nets revealed a few weeks ago that they'll be dropping "New Jersey" from their road uniforms this season, as part of their never-ending plans to move to Brooklyn one of these years. And apparently New Jersey state senator Kevin O'Toole just noticed, because he's hopping mad:

"New Jersey's professional sports teams, the Nets, Jets and Giants, have no problem feeding at the taxpayer funded trough, yet seem to forget who their benefactors are when they order the teams' uniforms," O'Toole said. "The taxpayers of this state have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into infrastructure upgrades in the Meadowlands where all the teams play their home games. Is it too much to ask that professional sports teams that benefit from the support of the New Jersey taxpayer recognize the state on their uniforms?"

Actually, given the going rate for uniform advertising, you could argue that for "hundreds of millions of dollars" the Nets should have the outline of the state shaved into their hair, too.

Meanwhile, in Cincinnati, Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes is calling on the county to sell its luxury suites that it got as part of the deal to build the Reds' and Bengals' new stadiums, or at least get "something else of value" in exchange for giving them back to the teams: "At a time when county employees are losing their jobs ... it is simply irresponsible and wrong to be giving away for free these assets."

In the county's defense, at least the suites are available to non-profit groups and by lottery to county residents, which is a public benefit of some kind, albeit only to a lucky few members of the public. That's better than some other deals I could name.

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